Charter vs. Union: LAUSD’s $10 Million Election Tonight

The 2017 Los Angeles Unified school board election has spurred easily the most expensive races in recent memory. About $13 million has been spent among four candidates vying for two spots on the board of the state’s largest school district.

In each of the two races a pro-charter candidate goes head-to-head with a union-backed candidate. Incumbent and Board President Steve Zimmer in District 4 and District 6’s Imelda Padilla have the support of United Teachers Los Angeles. While their opponents, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez have the support of the California Charter Schools Association.

Each candidate has a bevy of high profile endorsements. Monica Ratliff, who left the District 6 seat to run for council, put her support behind Gonez. Former L.A. Mayor and current gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa has expressed support for both the charter-backed candidates. Villaraigosa has own complex history with LAUSD and the teachers union. During his mayoral term he took over several schools and revamped them in order to improve the graduation rates.

A win for Melvoin and Gonenz would result in the first ever pro-charter majority for LAUSD.