New leaders in new year at LA Unified

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The new year will bring new faces to leadership positions at the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines will step down in a few months. His replacement is unknown.

Four of seven school board seats are up for election in March. The teachers union and Los Angeles's mayor are usually the big donors to those campaigns. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hasn't announced whom he's endorsing.

Also, members of the 45,000-strong United Teachers Los Angeles are scheduled to vote for a new leader next month. Union president A.J. Duffy is termed out.

The election is weeks before school board elections that usually pit candidates endorsed by the teachers' union versus those backed by L.A.'s mayor. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has not publicly announced whom he’s endorsing.

Not knowing the results of these changes will breed some uncertainty and anxiety in the district, according to education researcher Charles Kerchner. But, he added, that’s counterbalanced by known factors in the equation.

"There are some things that aren’t going to change and that aren’t going to go away," Kerchner said, "so that regardless of who steps in to the leadership positions, they’re going to have to deal with some of this stuff."

The biggest element of that stuff is the budget cuts Sacramento lawmakers are likely to impose on L.A. Unified and every other public school district in the state.