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LA Unified school board blocks current president from another term

Incumbent LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.
Incumbent LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

In a 4-3 vote LA Unified’s board of education prevented current board president Monica Garcia from running for a seventh term as president when the board convenes to elect a president in July.

The board motion didn’t name Garcia. Its authors, Marguerite LaMotte and Bennett Kayser, proposed limiting all board members to two consecutive, one-year terms as president. The motion said the limit would increase “geographic diversity.”

During debate on the motion, board member Tamar Galatzan, a Garcia ally, said limiting the presidency to two terms is “short sighted.”

The president of the board has wide powers in scheduling or tabling board motions, and moving along and limiting discussions on agenda items.

Garcia has been the strongest advocate on the board of education for an agenda that’s included a ramping up of charter school approvals, allowing outside groups to run district schools, and the decentralization of campus decision-making.

Garcia and her allies on the board have said these policies have led to rising test scores and graduation rates.

Kayser and LaMotte – strongly endorsed by United Teachers Los Angeles - are critics of the reform agenda. LaMotte frequently criticizes Garcia’s leadership style as autocratic.

The term limit may be the first sign that fewer members on the board of education may support the reform agenda.

A runoff election in May to decide an L.A. Unified board seat could solidify support on the board for the reform agenda or weaken it. One candidate, Antonio Sanchez, is strongly supported by Garcia’s education policy allies. The other, Monica Ratliff, is not. She said she's not sure yet what her position is on the district's charter-friendly superintendent. Both have been endorsed by United Teachers Los Angeles.