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Resolution could keep Vladovic in LAUSD board presidency another year

Craig Clough | June 15, 2015

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Richard VladovicWe openly speculated here at LA School Report less than a month ago that Steve Zimmer appeared in position to be elected the next LA Unified school board president in July.

Not so fast, Kemosabe.

Board President Richard Vladovic’s tenure is set to expire in July due to a two-year term limit, but that may no longer be the case if board member Monica Ratliff has her way.

At tomorrow’s board meeting, Ratliff is set to introduce a resolution that would extend the term limits of the presidency from two consecutive years to three consecutive years, and since it would be effective immediately, Vladovic would be eligible for another year-long term come July 1. (While set to be introduced tomorrow, the resolution calls for action on it at the June 23 meeting.)

The idea of term limits on the presidency is relatively new to the board and it only adopted them about two years ago just before Vladovic became president. Their introduction appeared to have little to do with term limits and more to do with ousting the former president, Monica Garcia, from the post.

Garcia had been president for six years in 2013 until late board member Marguerite LaMotte and board member Bennett Kayser introduced a resolution calling for a two-year limit. LaMotte — who was often opposed to Garcia on major issues — said the new rule was aimed at  promoting “geographical diversity” on the board. 

Before Garcia’s long tenure, the average board presidency lasted 1.9 years. The term limits vote came down to reformers vs. union advocates, at the time personified in supporters of former Superintendent John Deasy and those that opposed his controversial agenda.

Board member Tamar Galatzan blasted the resolution, saying at the time,“To take away my right to vote my conscience is really insulting to me. To make that seat rotate among people who may not do a good job is shortsighted.”

The board voted 4-3 in favor of the resolution and Zimmer cast what was seen as the swing vote. With Zimmer, who is now the board vice president, being viewed as the likely top candidate for the presidency, the resolution certainly puts him in an interesting position. At the time of the vote, Zimmer said, “Since the position has become so powerful, [two] years is a good time to moderate that power.”

Ratliff was sworn into office on July 2, 2013, the day Vladovic was voted into the presidency, so she was not directly involved in the last term limits vote, but she did vote in favor of Vladovic’s presidency. Ratliff did not respond to a request by LA School Report to explain the rationale behind the new term limits resolution.

Vladovic voted in favor of the term limits resolution in 2013, thus paving the way for him to ascend to the presidency, but will he now vote to limit his time in the chair? Vladovic’s time as president has been one dedicated to consensus building and he appears to have few enemies, making his election to a third term possible.

Vladovic — who was re-elected to the District 7 seat in May — rarely takes polarizing stances on issues since becoming president, a middle-of-the-road disposition that made him the only candidate in the recent  board elections to receive financial support from both the teachers union, UTLA, and the California Charter Schools Association, two groups that are essentially opposed to each other on major education issues.



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