Los Angeles Unified School District candidates lose top spots to longtime charter school supporters

Profound challenges face LAUSD candidates, but big donors still fight over charter schools

“If the students aren’t ready, they’ll never graduate,” said former LAUSD board member Robert Green. He told his fellow board members early on that the district had no time to wait.

So the former board member and charter school founder launched an independent effort to fill the void left by district voters who rejected Measure R, the bond measure that voters approved in 2012 for $2.75 billion. Charter proponents poured millions of dollars into the fight, but the effort never won enough votes to secure a charter school, which was approved in August 2017.

Those failures were among the biggest obstacles facing the Los Angeles Unified School District candidates on Tuesday — a day when the two top spots fell to two longtime charter school supporters who are on the same page.

With just 20 days before the March 28 deadline for district candidate filing, both candidates for the LAUSD board have come up short with donors in the top slots.

That means they risk losing the support of the voters who elected them, who are already considering replacements from the school board’s new slate of 11 candidates.

Candidates for the three other board seats are all running on their own.

The winner of the $10,000-to-$25,000 contest will be the next superintendent of LAUSD.

“There are going to be a lot of candidates who don’t turn out to be qualified to serve on the board,” said former LAUSD board member Robert Green, who lost his bid for a seat to new board member Kevin Mayer.

“I’m a little more optimistic now than I was before the election,” he said. “It didn’t come out of nowhere. There’s an effort on the part of the community to have us as part of that community.”

The incumbent, Susan Ross, is serving a second term on the board after she was re-elected in May. She will be looking to improve the district’s education results, including narrowing the achievement gap between black and white students and raising more money for schools.

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