It’s official. Monica Garcia announced Tuesday to her supporters that she will be running to retain her seat on LA Unified’s school board.
Meanwhile, fellow board member Monica Ratliff surprised many education and City Hall watchers last week when she quietly took out papers with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission to allow her to run for the City Council seat that is being vacated by Felipe Fuentes. She has named a treasurer, David L. Gould, based in Long Beach, to start collecting money for that campaign. She has also set up a new email to deal specifically with that race.
Ratliff doesn’t want to publicly discuss leaving the board until the end of the school year, in mid-June, because she doesn’t want it to disrupt work she is still doing with the district. She notified each of her fellow board members of her decision before it broke in the media last week, and she asked them not to discuss it.
Garcia, on the other hand, declared in an email Tuesday afternoon, “I’m in!”
Garcia writes, “It has been an incredible honor to serve you for the last 10 years; together we have been able to increase graduation and reduce the dropout rate. I am looking forward to continuing our work transforming this district so that all children can learn to read, write, think, believe and be college ready and career prepared. But I need your help to win.” She asks for $10, $25 or up to $100 to help launch her campaign for re-election.
So far, Garcia’s only declared competition, who also filed with the Ethics Commission, is Carl Petersen, a gadfly at the school board meetings who said he is purposefully moving into Garcia’s district to run against her.
Petersen said that he and his wife, Nicole, will move into the heavily Latino district that includes Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles so he can run against Garcia. Petersen said he has two children who graduated from LA Unified schools and triplets who are still in district schools. He spoke often to the board about issues he had at schools in Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley. Petersen ran last year against incumbent Tamar Galatzan, who was ousted by Scott Schmerelson. Petersen came in fifth in that election with 10 percent of the vote.