Tami Abdollah / KPCC
L.A. City Councilmember Tony Cardenas and LAUSD board president Monica Garcia walk with students rallying to support a measure that will change how the city deals with its truant students and officially eliminate fines.
Monica Garcia will continue to lead LA Unified’s School Board. She was re-elected to her sixth term as president starting Monday.
The vote was the same as last year’s: 4 to 3 in favor of re-electing Garcia for another one-year term as board president.
Summing up her time on the board thus far, Garcia said, "I come from a community that has been demanding change from the school district all of my life. I’m 44 years old. And we are seeing it happen. We are seeing a decentralized strategy, local control, letting teachers lead, increasing the participation of communities and parents at school sites."
She said LAUSD is transforming itself and the nation is taking notice.
The closeness of the vote reflects the sharp divisions on the Board. The three members who voted against her line up with the teachers’ union on some key issues. Garcia was elected to the board in 2006 with the backing of LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. Both have been an advocates for charter schools and sweeping reform of low-performing schools.
Upon hearing the news of Garcia's re-election the Mayor issued the following statement:
"Under the bold, collective leadership of President Garcia and her fellow Board Members, LAUSD is undergoing an impressive transformation that has resulted in significant academic growth, even while the district has struggled through years of devastating budget cuts."
Her alliance with the mayor and their shared goals has brought her into repeated conflict with the union, which has accused Garcia of pushing through policies without teacher input. The Board members voting against Garcia - Marguerite LaMotte, Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic — tried unsuccessfully last week to make the presidency a rotating position.
In the coming year, Garcia said she hopes the Board takes "the opportunity to continue with our building program that we are nearing the end of our year-round calendar." The district has three remaining year-round schools, down from 227, more than 10 years ago.
Garcia appointed Tamar Galatzan as the board’s Vice President, replacing Vladovic.
This story has been updated.