New LA Unified board members take oath

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Three elected board members take the oath of office at L.A. Unified School District today. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez tells us what’s in store for them.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Approving budget cuts and more budget cuts. The school district’s facing a $1 billion deficit next year. New board member Steve Zimmer, whose district stretches from Hollywood to Woodland Hills and Westchester, says he’s up for the task.

Steve Zimmer: People have been saying to me for these last couple of months, "How could you do this? I don’t know whether to say congratulations or condolences." I don’t feel that way at all. I feel really honored to have this opportunity.

Guzman-Lopez: He’ll take the oath and begin his four-year term with fellow newbie Nury Martinez, a former San Fernando councilwoman, and reelected board member Monica Garcia. The teachers union and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa helped elect Zimmer and Martinez. Zimmer praised school superintendent Ramon Cortines and added that the teachers union has been left out of many school district discussions.

Zimmer: I think that as this year unfolds, I really hope that the trust that I’ve built on both sides of the table will I hope and pray will bring about a new day where we come to the table together, we put kids first.

Guzman-Lopez: Along with budget cuts, the seven-member board of education faces key decisions on managing charter schools and preparing graduating students for the world of work.