LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Voters will fill the final seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District board today, choosing between a former assistant to the mayor and an attorney who is also a teacher.
Antonio Sanchez, 31, was the top vote-getter in the March primary and has easily raised more money than his opponent, Monica Ratliff. Sanchez has benefited financially from the support of the Coalition for School Reform, the action committee created by his former boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He has also been backed heavily unions, including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the Service Employees International Union.
Sanchez has been a vocal supporter of Superintendent John Deasy, solidifying his support in Villaraigosa’s camp.
Ratliff, 43, has impressed many factions with her experience as a teacher and attorney, and she has earned endorsements from the Los Angeles Times and Daily News. She has taught third, fourth and fifth grades at a school in downtown Los Angeles. She previously worked as an attorney with Neighborhood
Legal Services in Pacoima.
Sanchez and Ratliff are battling to replace Nury Martinez, who is giving up her seat to run for City Council. United Teachers Los Angeles, the union the represents LAUSD teachers, has endorsed both candidates and did not play an active role in the runoff campaign.
Voters will also fill the final seat on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees. Incumbent Nancy Pearlman is hoping to retain Seat 6, but she is being challenged by David Vela, a member of the Montebello Unified School District board.
The LACCD board is struggling with accreditation issues at some of its campuses and working to rebuild confidence in its multibillion-dollar construction program following discoveries of fiscal mismanagement.