Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools?
Perhaps, possibly, maybe.
You can make a decent case that Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of charters were the core issues. The fact that the anti-charter candidate was an incumbent and still lost speaks volumes.
Not so clear in District 3.
For that matter, I do not think it was the issue that drove the campaign or had much of an effect on the outcome.
In my neck of the woods, where a popular charter school plays an important part of the social fabric, it was not a subject that came up at any meetings I attended, or in my informal chit-chats with informed residents who are active in Valley Village’s NC and homeowners’ association.
None of the mailers or canvassers played it up either; I assume both candidates stuck to a uniform message throughout District 3’s vast San Fernando Valley footprint.
What seemed to be the prominent concern among the 3rd’s likely voters was the competence of the LAUSD board members, specifically the lack of it with regard to incumbent Tamar Galatzan. Her opponent, Scott Schmerelson, delivered a message rooted in his extensive experience as an educator, and one who was thoughtful – not a person who would spuriously embrace the idea du jour as Galatzan did with the iPads, or latch on to a figure because he was perceived to be a rising star. As it turned out, a “rising star” who left the school system vulnerable to federal investigations. It makes me wonder if Galatzan has what it takes to serve the public in her other job as an assistant city attorney.
Establishing priorities was not in her wheelhouse. She was part of a culture where oversight was an afterthought. Over a billion dollars were wasted or inappropriately allocated at the expense of vital needs during her two terms on the board.
Schmrelson will not repeat her mistakes. I anticipate he will concentrate on delivering the best value for the money. That does not mean every worthy project will be implemented; it does mean the best, doable ones will be selected.
It is difficult to understand what was behind incumbent Vladovic’s easy victory over Lydia Gutierrez. How did the voters weigh his unprofessional conduct as a board member and track record of wasting money with her alleged Tea Party ideology? I think that had to be in play. It is difficult to ignore.
Vladovic enjoyed strong support from charter advocates, overwhelming Gutierrez’s puny treasury. You must hand it to her, though. She earned 45% of the vote against an incumbent despite her lack of funds. That would indicate a fair degree of public dissatisfaction with Vladovic and could adversely affect his re-election chances for LAUSD Board president.
Overall, Schmerelson racked up the most impressive showing of the night. His 18,146 votes were nearly double than Vladovic’s and easily surpassed Rodriguez’s total.
Schmerelson just might have the most positive public image of any of his colleagues.
It would position him as a go-to person when it comes to navigating controversial issues.