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Antonucci: California Teachers Association had a great Election Day, though less great in school board races

Mike Antonucci | November 27, 2018



Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears weekly at LA School Report.

While Election Day results for teacher unions across the country are best described as mixed, the California Teachers Association celebrated victories in virtually all of its targeted races.

CTA’s unrelenting support of Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction was instrumental in putting him over the top. CTA-backed candidates won eight of nine state constitutional offices (the defeat of Ed Hernandez for lieutenant governor being the only loss). And union-backed candidates had a success rate of 84 percent in Assembly, Senate and congressional races.

It’s perhaps a little surprising that the union did not do quite as well in local school board races. As we reported last month, CTA devoted just short of $1 million to 312 school board races throughout the state, much of it spent in places where there was no countervailing organized opposition. Of those 312 candidates, 209 were victorious, for a success rate of 67 percent.

The amount of money CTA spent on each race does not seem to have been a determining factor in victory or defeat. Of the 22 school board candidates who received the most support, 14 were successful. I have labeled the winners with a W and the losers with an L.

CTA’s top 10 donations to November’s school board races and result:

1. San Francisco: Alison Collins (W), Li Lovett (L) and Faauuga Moliga (W) – $108,700

2. San Diego: Kevin Beiser (W) and Michael McQuary (W) – $54,500

3. Santa Clara County: Claudia Rossi (W) – $32,900

4. Southwestern Community College: Nicole Jones (L), Tim Nader (W) and Nora Vargas (W) – $32,900

5. Santa Clara County: Peter Ortiz (W) – $31,500

6. Saddleback Valley: Barbara Schulman (W) and Dan Walsh (L) – $25,000

7. Anaheim Union High: Al Jabbar (W), Anna Piercy (W) and Annemarie Randle-Trejo (W) – $24,500

8. Oakland: Clarissa Doutherd (L) – $23,900

9. East Side Union High: Frank Biehl (W), Manuel Herrera (L) and Kristin Rivers (L) – $22,200

10. San Dieguito Union High: Amy Flicker (L), Kristin Gibson (W) and Rhea Stewart (L) – $19,000

It is very likely that all of this spending will be easily eclipsed by the outlays for one school board seat in one district — LA Unified. The election for the open District 5 seat takes place on March 5, but the huge field of candidates virtually ensures a runoff on May 14.

Charter school groups will certainly spend big to re-establish a charter-friendly majority on the board. CTA and United Teachers Los Angeles, along with other public employee unions, will have no other elections competing for their attention and resources. They will devote considerable amounts to the race.

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