Dear Commons Community,
In perhaps the most closely watched school board election in modern times, two charter school advocates were the victors. Less than two hours after polls closed yesterday, the president of the school board, Steve Zimmer, conceded the race. Addressing a crowd of supporters, Zimmer called his loss to candidate Nick Melvoin “devastating” and vowed never to run for office again. In a sign of how deeply polarizing this election has been, and how difficult it will be to forge consensus in the weeks and months to come, Zimmer said he would not call Melvoin.
From the moment the candidates filed to run for the Los Angeles Board of Education, the election has been a proxy war between wealthy charter school advocates and public employee unions. Charter supporters seemed poised early Wednesday morning to secure their first-ever majority on the seven-member Los Angeles Board of Education.
Early returns showed charter-backed Kelly Gonez, 28, leading against her union-supported opponent, Imelda Padilla, 29, in the race to fill a vacant seat in District 6.
Just after midnight, Gonez declared victory.
With a clear majority of advocates on the school board, Los Angeles will become a center for the charter school movement in the coming years.