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Harassment Allegations Could Hurt Vladovic’s Chances

Hillel Aron | June 27, 2013

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Home_PageToday’s blockbuster LA Daily News story about accusations of harassment against School Board member Dr. Richard Vladovic sent shockwaves through LAUSD’s massive headquarters on Beaudry.

However, most of those contacted by LA School Report either didn’t know or weren’t willing to provide any details about the allegations or their possible impact on Vladovic’s chances of becoming the next School Board President.

Superintendent John Deasy declined to comment; Dr. Vladovic (and indeed any Board member we tried to reach) never got back to us.

A source close to Dr. Vladovic claimed that one of the two accusations Jones’ article cites refers to an incident that occurred roughly 12 years ago when Vladovic was a local superintendent.

The source acknowledged that all accusations of harassment should be taken seriously, but said that the timing of the Daily News story was extremely suspicious.

“I just find it very interesting that this would come out five days before a School Board President vote,” the source said. “This is a political hit-and-run if I ever saw one.”

Intentionally timed or not, the allegations against Vladovic could hurt his chances of becoming President, creating an opening for other Board members to take the role.

While news of the investigation into the accusations against Vladovic has only become public now, Board members were informed over a week ago, according to the Daily News.

District staffers informed them during a closed-door session before the June 18 Board meeting, while Vladovic sat alone in the Board meeting room waiting for the public session to begin.

On Tuesday, the Board is set to elect a new President to replace Monica Garcia, who is term-limited. Dr. Vladovic, who is known to covet the job, was until recently considered the front-runner.

It is unknown how these recent revelations will affect the Board members’ decision — they have been largely tight-lipped about their political calculations.

The news could persuade “Dr. V.” to stay in the background, at least for the time being. Or it could make some of the other Board members reluctant to put him under the spotlight.

That could tip the balance in favor of Board member Steve Zimmer, who has reportedly told people that he would accept the position, but only if the vote were unanimous — not a very likely scenario. But he may decide that four or five is enough.

Board member Tamar Galatzan has an outside shot as well — she would, at least, run a fast meeting.

There are roughly 15,000 local school boards nationally, and over the years there have been numerous cases regarding allegations of abuse, misbehavior, drug use and other offenses:

In 1997, Dallas, Texas Schools Superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez was investigated for her treatment of Board employees. Gonzalez resigned after the school district’s chief financial officer accused her of sexual harassment though she vehemently denied the accusations.

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch launched wide-scale investigations into several members of the 32 community school boards regarding drug use, sexual harassment and job-selling accusations. Eight members of a Bronx school board were suspended and the investigation resulted in legislation to tighten control over local boards, according to the New York Times.

Most recently, New Mexico public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera suspended the entire Questia Independent School Board. One member reportedly harassed and micromanaged staff to such a point that the district had banned him from any campus, according to New Mexico State Capital reports.

Of course, the Board could also choose to ignore the accusations, the severity of which are entirely unknown and will likely remain so next week.

Additional reporting by Brianna Sacks

Previous posts: Board Presidency Up for Grabs TuesdayVladovic the Frontrunner for PresidentZimmer Reversal Likely Ends Garcia Presidency*

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