Before her election to the LA school board in May, Monica Ratliff was virtually unknown. Now, the race to influence her is on — and all sides have entered.
Ratliff, a former teacher and upset winner over Antonio Sanchez in District 6, has raised just over $30,000 since her election to help retire her campaign debt, according to a campaign finance report just released by the city ethics commission. The donors come from all poles of the education debate, giving her at least a veneer of political nonalignment. Ratliff’s ideological stance — that is, how she might line up on school board votes — has been the subject of much speculation. By some indications, she could be something of a swing vote, like board members Steve Zimmer and Richard Vladovic, even though she received strong teacher support in the general election campaign.
Among post-election contributions, UTLA President Warren Fletcher gave $1,000, the maximum allowable amount in School Board races, while UTLA Secretary David Lyell gave $350, and Brent Smiley, vice chairman of the union’s political action committee and a campaign volunteer, donated $50. The California Federation of Teachers’ Political Action Committee also gave $1,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, the California Charter School Association’s Political Action Committee gave $1,000, while Kathrine Baxter, wife of Frank Baxter, chipped in $500. Both Frank Baxter and the CCSA gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Coalition for School Reform, which spent heavily in an attempt to elect Sanchez.