Charter Schools Association Pushing Election for LaMotte Seat
Vanessa Romo | December 10, 2013
The California Charter Schools Association, or CCSA, has become the latest group pushing LA Unified leadership to hold an election to fill the seat left open by the sudden death of board member Marguerite LaMotte. As the school board continues to weigh the options of appointing a replacement or staging a special election — stakeholders around the city are making their positions clear.
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, north to Hancock Park, and south to Gardena. As of this year, there are about 40 charter schools operating in the district, serving more than 12,000 students. Only District 2, represented by Monica Garcia, has more charter schools.
CCSA Spokeswoman Sierra Jenkins says the CCSA plans to circulate a petition next week, among parents of charter school students “to encourage the board to hold a special election.”
A former teacher and principal, LaMotte was a strong ally for teachers and other district employees, which won her lasting support from UTLA, the teachers union, as well as SEIU, a public employees union. For most of her tenure on the board, she staunchly opposed charter schools, though she did soften her views in recent years.
Regardless, LaMotte often complained in board meetings that schools in her district were hemorrhaging students and resources to local charter schools popping up by the dozens every year. Though she was often outnumbered, she sought to restrict the number charter schools approved by the board and advocated for more stringent oversight.
The CCSA will be collecting signatures and spreading the word about the possibility of electing a more charter-friendly board member at a magnet and charter school resource fair in South LA, LaMotte’s former district. The event was scheduled months ago and is co-sponsored by ExED and Families That Can. It will feature Howard Fuller, a national advocate for voucher programs and charter schools.
“We’ll take advantage of that event and connect with as many parents as possible,” Jenkins told LA School Report. “At this point, it’s about letting parents know what’s going on. So first, we need to them what happened, and then we can tell them about the board’s choices and how they can make their own voices heard.”
By terms of the LA city charter, the 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.
Previous Posts: LA Unified board has to fill LaMotte seat by appointment or election; Black Leaders Speak Out on How to Fill LaMotte Seat; Marguerite LaMotte, Long-Serving Member of LA Unified School.