Thomas declines to endorse either candidate for District 5 board seat
LA School Report | March 18, 2015
Andrew Thomas, who finished third in the recent District 5 school board race with 26 percent of the vote, said today he would not endorse either candidate in the May 19 runoff, Ref Rodriguez and Bennett Kayser.
“I ran for this seat to bring the voices of parents and kids to the school board,” Thomas said in a press release announcing his decision. “Our current board remains locked in a battle between charter schools and the teacher’s union, which is making it difficult for us to meet the many challenges families face when trying to get a great education for their kids.”
Thomas added that he and his supporters “are creating a parent advocacy organization that will continue this critical work.”
In his first run for the board, Thomas had no outside backing, compared with more than $800,000 spent for Rodriguez, the winner, and more than $563,000 for Kayser, the incumbent, who finished second.
Rodriguez, a charter school executive, won 38.3 percent of the vote, largely with support from the California Charter Schools Association, to 35.7 percent for Kayser, who had financial backing from United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union.
Thomas, who holds a doctorate in Urban Education and works as an education consultant and teacher trainer in public schools across the state, said his new group intends to create new parent-teacher organizations at schools throughout the district to serve as an advocate for parents’ rights. It will also have the ability to support and endorse parent-oriented candidates for election to the school board in the future.
“Although I applaud UTLA and their efforts to support teachers, as a group, parents and students continue to lack a strong, organized voice in LAUSD,” he said. “I believe that in the long run, bringing parents to the table in the political process will be to the benefit of teachers, students and administrators in LAUSD, as well as voters and residents of Los Angeles.”
The third-place finisher in District 7, Euna Anderson, has also declined to endorse the runoff candidates, Richard Vladovic and Lydia Gutierrez.