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Teachers union makes no commit for endorsement in Vladovic race

Vanessa Romo | March 12, 2015



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District 7 debate

The candidates at the LA Unified District 7 forum

A meeting yesterday of UTLA’s political action committee, PACE, concluded with no decision to endorse LA Unified School Board President Richard Vladovic or his opponent, Lydia Gutierrez.

Vladovic was forced into May runoff against Gutierrez, a veteran educator who is anti-Common Core, pro-Vergara and Republican. It was an unusually close race for Vladovic after serving two terms on the board and more than a year as its president. The union did not endorse Vladovic in either of his previous runs for the board.

In previous races for other elected positions, Gutierrez has had strong support from conservative Christians and Republicans. On one conservative website she was commended for opposing public funding of abortion and supporting teaching intelligent design as an alternative to the theory of evolution. Her vehement opposition to Common Core has also won her support among Tea Party conservatives.

According to an official familiar with events at the PACE meeting, the subject of Vladovic’s endorsement “never came up.”

But “it’s possible it will come up at the House of Representatives meeting” on March 25, the official said. Many LA Unified teachers have campaigned independently on Vladovic’s behalf.

PACE is recommending that the union endorse Scott Schmerelson, a long-time LA Unified principal and administrator who is also a Republican. Although school board elections are non-partisan, the union’s support for a Republican comes as Republican governors around the country are supporting policies that weaken unions and their collective bargaining rights.

The teachers union endorsed incumbent Bennett Kayser in the primary race for District 5 against charter school founder, Ref Rodriguez, and spent about $450,000 in getting him through the primary.

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