Los Angeles Unified School District is the most volatile issue in the state

L.A. mayoral, California House races soak up money and attention in state Capitol

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez listens as she makes a point about how the Legislature would be worse off with a single-member district during an interview at a campaign stop for Assembly candidate Lorena Gonzalez, left, in South Los Angeles on Tuesday.


By The Associated Press

October 18, 2013

PHOENIX — With the top three races in the state Capitol still undecided, the battle over control of the Los Angeles Unified School District seems to be the most volatile issue out there.

It’s a battle that is heating up this election season, with the potential for a final push toward the November general election that could help decide control of the capital in the state Legislature.

The Los Angeles school board has a supermajority of three. In the last three general elections, Republicans have won all three votes. But the L.A. County Board of Supervisors has twice backed Democrats.

The stakes are high for a number of candidates who are spending millions of dollars on ads that are airing across Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles school board race is especially volatile because of the history of corruption in the L.A. Unified board and the district’s relationship with the school board.

It’s been a longtime fight, dating to the 1950s. The district was split up into a number of independent school districts across Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles school board split into a number of districts, but one remained under the leadership of a white Democrat.

Teachers who wanted to go to a better school went over to the new district and teachers and students went over to the old district. But they stayed in the same schools, which meant teachers and other staffers were paid different salaries because there were no shared services.

Union officials and black leaders went to court to separate the districts and eventually got the court to rule that the district had to be divided into three districts based on population. The new board was divided into three: African American, Hispanic and Whites.


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