With tomorrow’s noon deadline approaching to file for next year’s LA Unified school board elections, the races are coming into view.
Seats in four of the board’s seven districts — 1, 3, 5 and 7 — are up for grabs, making the elections hugely influential on future district policies.
All four of the incumbents are running again and facing challengers, with the primary scheduled for March 3 and the general election on May 19. Here is a district-by-district breakdown of the school board races:
District 1 includes South Los Angeles, Palms and Baldwin Hills.
For the moment, this is the only race with a head-to-head contest. The incumbent, George McKenna, is the newest board member, having won a special election in August to fill the seat vacated by the death of Marguerite LaMotte last year.
McKenna’s victory was key in determining the current balance of power on the board, as his election shifted it to a 4-3 majority owing their seats, in large part, to financial support by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). McKenna ran against a reform-backed candidate, Alex Johnson, and his victory was the latest in a string of pro-union wins against pro-charter, reformists in LA Unified school board elections.
McKenna holds a doctorate of education degree from Xavier University. He is a former LAUSD teacher and principal at George Washington Preparatory High School, where the academic turnaround he oversaw at the school was the subject of a 1986 TV movie starring Denzel Washington.