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South LA to elect a school board member; Can a new face turn things around?



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South Los Angles residents will vote Tuesday on a new school board member - but their decision will affect students all over the district.

A slate of seven candidates are vying for District One - which became vacant last year when Marguerite LaMotte died in the middle of her term. It's home to the poorest performing schools in Los Angeles.

Hopefuls include a former superintendent, an education consultant and a policy advisor — there's even a former reality TV show star in mix.

The next member will join a school board divided between two main philosophies: teachers union allies and those who believe in a particular brand of reform that likes charter schools and using student test scores to evaluate teachers, among other policies.  

LaMotte had been a strong union ally. But none of the three leading candidates to replace her are backed by United Teachers Los Angeles, meaning a political shift on the seven-member board.

KPCC interviewed each of the three main contenders on their vision for South L.A. schools and asked them what they'd like to accomplish on the school board.

Genethia Hudley-Hayes, education consultant

Alex Johnson, education policy advisor

George McKenna, former principal/superintendent

Unless a candidate wins 50.1 percent of the vote Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will go to a runoff in November.