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LA school board committee to tackle job description for temporary, non-voting member

Marguerite LaMotte

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

A memorial image of Marguerite LaMotte on display at the board meeting Tuesday.

Los Angeles Unified school board member Steve Zimmer is inviting the public to help write a job description. It's for the role of District 1 advocate - a position proposed by Zimmer and approved by the school board to speak on the behalf of south Los Angeles schools while the area prepares to elect a full member in June.

Zimmer and his ad hoc committee will meet for the first time at 6 p.m. Tuesday at district headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. 

District 1 supporters were divided after the death of school board member Marguerite LaMotte in December: some wanted an election to fill her seat, others wanted the board to appoint someone to serve the remainder of her term. The school board had the power to decide.

Ultimately, the board chose a special election. But the new advocate position attempts to appease the other side - though the representative is prohibited under law to vote. Critics said it's a mere token, but Zimmer, a close friend of LaMotte's, said he wants to assign the broadest possible powers.

Some have also taken issue with whether or not the advocate will be permitted to run in the June special election and benefit from incumbency. 

L.A. Unified's general counsel, David Holmquist, is scheduled to present his thoughts on the legal parameters at the meeting.

The committee's recommendations on the scope of the positions power will go to the full board for a vote next week. 

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