In Partnership with The 74

Candidates lining up for LAUSD elections — in 2015

Vanessa Romo | January 10, 2014



Bennett Kayser: already has a challenger

Bennett Kayser: already has a challenger

Even as the LA Unified School Board is trying to coordinate a special election for the District 1 seat in June, candidates are already lining up to run for the seat in the regular election, more than a year later.

The City Ethics Commission says three people have registered, and another has signed up to challenge board member Bennett Kayser in District 5.

Two of the candidates running in District 1, an area that includes South LA, Mar Vista and Hancock Park, said they have no intention of running for the special election on June 3. They also have something else in common: They’re both charter school supporters.

Daymond Johnson, 32, told LA School Report that he was seeking to get Marguerite LaMotte to back him before her sudden death last month.

“I was in close talks with Ms. LaMotte attempting to get her support for the seat before the unfortunate passing,” he said. LaMotte was an old family friend, whom Johnson says he’d known since childhood.

Johnson is the School Safety Officer at Green Dot’s Animo Pat Brown Charter High School in District 1 and is the president of the Animo Classified Employees Association. He was one of the founding members of the charter school and has been at the Green Dot school — one of the highest performing in LAUSD — for eight years.

He calls himself “a reformer of sorts,” however he doesn’t want to give the impression that he’s of a single mind when in comes to the charter issue.

“I’m trying my best not to have the fact that I work for a charter school be mixed up with the issues facing our public schools,” he said. “I know, people may think, once I’m elected, the whole district’s going to become a charter, but that’s not what’s going to happen.

Johnson grew up in South LA and graduated from Crenshaw High School.

Rodney Robinson, 45, is a single father whose seven-year-old daughter attends GARR Academy of Mathematics and Entrepreneurial Studies, which is fighting to retain its charter.

Robinson served on the Los Angeles Community College District Board as the Student Trustee from 2009 to 2011. He has worked as community youth activists for more than a decade.

In 2012 he was a Democratic candidate for the 59th district seat in the California State Assembly. He lost by less than five percent of the vote to Reggie Jones-Sawyer.

Robinson says his 2015 campaign for school board will be entirely grassroots.

Both Johnson and Robinson are African-American.

Erick Morales is the only Latino registered to run for the seat which has been held by a black leader since 1979. But he told LA School Report today that he intends to withdraw to support George McKenna in his quest for the seat in June, the winner of which will serve until the 2015 election.

Barbara Frances Torres is the only candidate who has declared an intention of running in the race for District 5. Kayser currently holds the seat, but the first term board member has not said if he plans to run for the seat again.

Torres did not respond to requests for comment.

Previous Posts: Analysis: Zimmer takes center stage in LAUSD dramaLAUSD cannot appoint an interim board memberThe LA Unified board sets June 3 election to fill vacant LaMotte seat.

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