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Zimmer’s plan for District 1 vacancy facing a big vote

LA School Report | February 10, 2014

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images-2The LA Unified school board has an unusually long agenda for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, 39 items plus a handful of reports and updates.

Each has consequences but few of them carry the import and emotional impact of Steve Zimmer‘s proposal to fill the vacant seat for District 1 on a temporary basis until a new member is elected later this year.

After weeks of discussion and his “committee of one” meeting last week, he has written a template for what the interim can do — and by extension, can’t do — and a timeline for identifying and approving a selection.

With guidance from the district legal team, Zimmer has devised a job description that effectively allows the temporary member to perform almost all the duties of a regular member, apart from casting a binding vote and attending some closed meetings. While it falls short of what many District 1 residents wanted, it tip-toed as close as possible to the line of legally permissible, as drawn by the LA City Charter.

“I did the best I could to sculpt the most empowered interim representative design under the parameters of the law, understanding that I myself have no standing to challenge the law,” Zimmer told LA School Report. “I know that all of my colleagues care deeply about the students, families and schools in Board District One. We may have differing perspectives on how to meet the challenge of representation for the next six months, but I trust that we will work our way to a just solution.”

If the board approves Zimmer’s proposal or an amended version, a schedule of events kicks in, leading to the nomination of up to three candidates from each of the current six board members by Feb. 24. The goal is to narrow the list at the March 4 meeting to one candidate who could win four votes for approval.

Failing that, the board can consider other nominees or change the selection process.


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