The voice of California’s charter school movement

7 Things to Know About the LAUSD board district 5 Race

By Vanessa Alessi

Over 300 parents, students, and community members recently met with 11 individuals aspiring to be LAUSD’s next school board member at a spirited Candidate Forum hosted by CCSA Advocates Families at Magnolia Science Academy 8. A primary election to fill the vacant seat will take place on Tuesday, March 5 for voters residing in L.A. Unified’s Board District 5, which includes neighborhoods in Northeast and Southeast Los Angeles. . 

Candidates were given the opportunity to present themselves to the community and were asked tough questions about their positions on critical education issues. At least one parent who attended isn’t even in District 5, but after attending similar events in her neighboring district, she knows each candidate’s answers can affect her child’s education as well, if elected..

Here are some of the most important takeaways for parents and community members in Los Angeles Unified School District 5: 

  1. This is an extremely crowded race. Fifteen candidates remain active in the contest. While the coming weeks could thin out the field, with two candidates dropping out in recent days, it is going to take a lot for candidates to distinguish themselves amongst such a large group.
  1. Community interest is high. Over 300 community members came out from all over the District to get an opportunity to meet candidates and hear their views on issues that affect every family in Los Angeles. Parents and students asked probing questions and made sure that their voices were heard loud and clear.
  1. LAUSD given very low marks by candidates. The candidates were asked to grade LAUSD’s performance in preparing students in Board District Five for college and careers. The overwhelming majority of candidates rated LAUSD a D or lower and no one gave it higher than a C. 
  1. Unanimous support for providing charter students with stable, quality learning environments. Every candidate agreed that charter schools who have been performing well and operating on the same school site for years should be granted access to stable, long-term public school facilities.
  1. A large majority does not think that the District should be able to deny charter schools based on declining enrollment or financial challenges. Eight of the eleven candidates said they would not support giving the District the ability to reject any charter school, due to LAUSD’s fiscal difficulties or decreased enrollment. 
  1. Flexibility is needed in education! In another unanimous vote, all candidates agreed that giving the District more flexibility, similar to how charter schools operate, would benefit students.
  1. The majority believe new charter schools are a pathway to better education for all kids in Los Angeles. Over half of the candidates agreed that charter school growth is an important tool for the District to improve student outcomes.

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