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Ratliff forgoes neutrality, endorsing McKenna in board race

LA School Report | July 15, 2014

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Board member Monica Ratliff

Board member Monica Ratliff

Monica Ratliff, who was elected to the LA Unified school board last year, became the first member of the board to take sides in the District 1 school board race, endorsing George McKenna over Alex Johnson, McKenna’s campaign announced late in the day.

No other board member has expressed public support for either of the contenders in the Aug. 12 runoff.

“It is with the utmost respect for his long history of success and dedication to students that I wholeheartedly endorse George McKenna for School Board,” Ratliff was quoted as saying in the announcement. “His many years of experience as a dedicated and successful teacher, principal, and administrator will continue to serve the students and parents of District 1 well.”

McKenna, a retired school administrators with decades of experience, said, “I am humbled to have earned the support of superb educator Mónica Ratliff. Since the voters elected her to the LAUSD board in 2013 she has proven to be a deliberate member and strong advocate for our children. I look forward to working with her and all the board members when the people elect me to be their school board representative on August 12th.”

Ratliff, who represents the East Valley District 6 on the board, did not immediately respond to an email message, seeking confirmation of her endorsement. The message also sought to ask how she would forge a working relationship with Johnson if he were to defeat McKenna.

In the announcement, McKenna’s campaign manager, Jewett Walker, cited Ratliff’s successful campaign last year over Antonio Sanchez as similar to McKenna’s campaign against Johnson. Sanchez had raised far more money than Ratliff, and McKenna is far behind Johnson in both individual donations and money spent on his behalf by political action committees.

“In her 2013 race for school board, Ratliff was outspent by over $2 million dollars,” Walker said, referring to his support that included wealthy westside donors, then Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, “big” charter school operators, the LA County Federation of Labor and SEIU Local 99, the school service workers union.

“They thought the electorate would support a 30-something unknown with no record in education who many believed was only running to use the school board seat as a political stepping-stone,” Walker said. “Voters chose Ratliff, an LAUSD teacher, who forged a campaign led by educators who pounded the pavement. The parallel between the two races is interesting.”

Previous Posts: Johnson outpacing McKenna in school board race for money; Labor groups split on support for McKenna and Johnson in runoff; UTLA votes to endorse McKenna in District 1 board race

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