If you have a child in a public school in Los Angeles or if you have a preschooler or baby at home that will one day attend a public school or if you are simply a concerned community member, citizen and voter, please read this short blog post as this issue will directly impact education in the city we all call home. This Tuesday, January 7th, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) School Board will be meeting to decide whether to have a special election OR to make an appointment to fill the late Marguerite LaMotte’s seat. I know local school board politics are not always fun to follow but as a parent myself of two young daughters, I can tell you that it has been enlightening to learn more about our School Board and the HUGE amount of power these 7 individuals have.
A few quick facts: the LAUSD enrolls more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, at over 900 schools, and 187 public charter schools. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation! The boundaries spread over 720 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities plus several unincorporated sections of Southern California.
By terms of the Los Angeles City Charter, the School Board has two options to fill the seat: it can appoint a replacement to serve through the end of LaMotte’s term, June 30, 2015 OR it can work with the city to hold a special election, with the winner serving the same period.
LAUSD School Board District 1, which LaMotte had represented since 2003, includes parts of south LA, Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills. It stretches as far west as Palms, as far north Hancock Park, and south to Gardena. It also includes a cluster of the district’s remaining schools with a majority African-American student body, including Crenshaw, Locke and Dorsey high schools. The seat has been held by an African-American woman since 1979, when LAUSD first began electing board members by region.
Community leaders largely agree that a special election is the fair way to fill the seat, rather than a board appointment. Please join me and many, many others who are involved in the education reform movement in Los Angeles in signing a petition that is asking the LAUSD School Board members to vote for a special election, http://www.empowerdistrict1.com There is also going to be a rally in front of the LAUSD Board Room on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 6pm, 333 S. Beaudry Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Parents and community members are encouraged to attend!