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Rodriguez opens big money lead over Kayser in District 5 campaign

LA School Report | April 13, 2015



Ref Rodriguez

Ref Rodriguez

With the May 19 runoff elections five weeks from tomorrow, Ref Rodriguez has opened a huge money lead over incumbent Bennett Kayser for the District 5 school board seat.

Rodriguez, a charter school official, has built a nearly 3-to-1 edge in individual contributions, raising $26,896 to Kayser’s $9,575 through April 4, the latest figures from the LA City Ethics Commission, and the edge in money spent by outside groups, which candidate campaigns do not control, is even greater.

The California Charter Schools Association and a New York-based student canvassing group, Students for Education Reform Action Network, have combined to spend $141,839 for Rodriguez. SEIU Local 99, the service employees union, has accounted for all the outside spending so far for Kayser, $8,545.

No doubt, much more money will be spent to help Kayser, who finished second to Rodriguez in the primary. He has been endorsed by the teachers union, UTLA, which has promised to mount a robust campaign to help him win a second term.

Between them, the charter group and UTLA spent nearly $1.5 million for the two candidates in the primary.

In the other two elections for board seats, the incumbents have the advantage.

In District 7, where President Richard Vladovic is seeking a third term, he has out-raised his challenger, Lydia Gutierrez by about 9-to-1, $30,205 to $3,650, and SEIU Local 99 has spent $8,349 on his behalf. Gutierrez has no outside support so far.

Vladovic has been endorsed by both the charter group and UTLA.

In District 3, Tamar Galatzan has raised $15,850, nearly double the total of her opponent, Scott Schmerelson, $6,862. And SEIU Local 99 has spent $8,313 for Galatzan, with no outside spending yet for Schmerelson, who has also been endorsed by UTLA.

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