LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Two members of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education will be keeping their jobs, but pair of newcomers will be squaring off in a May runoff in the race for an open third seat.
Monica Garcia fended off four challengers in Tuesday’s election to retain her 2nd District seat on the seven-member board, while Steve Zimmer narrowly defeated feisty challenger Kate Anderson, who was heavily funded by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Coalition for School Reform political action committee.
Garcia, a close ally of Villaraigosa, was also a big beneficiary of funds from the Coalition for School Reform, which received a seven-figure donation during the campaign from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Most of Garcia’s challengers–Annamarie Montanez, a teacher and doctoral candidate; Robert Skeels, an education researcher; high school Spanish teacher Abelardo Diaz; and first-grade teacher Isabel Vazquez–had the backing of the teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles.
“UTLA has not always seen eye-to-eye with Garcia, but we will work with her, as we have done in the past,” according to a statement issued by the union. “Our goal is to ensure all students in the district get the quality education they deserve.”
Villaraigosa’s former personal assistant, Antonio Sanchez, advanced to the May 21 runoff in the race to replace Nury Martinez, who is giving up her 6th District seat to run for City Council. Sanchez, who was backed by the Coalition for School Reform and UTLA, will face fifth-grade teacher Monica Ratliff, who was also backed by UTLA.
Ten candidates were vying for three seats on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, which is struggling with accreditation issues at some of its campuses, rebuilding confidence in its multibillion-dollar construction program following discoveries of fiscal mismanagement, and preparing to hire a new chancellor to replace outgoing Daniel LaVista.
For Seat 2, termed-out Assemblyman Mike Eng easily defeated retired accounting professor John C. Burke, while Ernest Moreno, retired president of East Los Angeles and L.A. Mission colleges, handily defeated real estate broker Jozef Essavi for Seat 4.
Seat 6 incumbent Nancy Pearlman will be heading for a runoff election in her bid to retain her seat. She will square off with top vote-getter David Vela, a member of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education.