by Hillel Aron, L.A. School Report | http://bit.ly/18WRcgX
12 Sept 2013 :: In an under-the-radar move, Monica Garcia has taken a job in LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina‘s office, which means she’s now a part-time member of the LA Unified school board.
“For seven years, I did the LAUSD Board member job full time,” Garcia told LA School Report. “While I appreciated that intense focus on education, I took this opportunity that came through with Supervisor Molina’s office. I wanted to learn. I respect her a lot. She is a model for serving for the public.”
Garcia’s official title is Senior Legislative Deputy, focusing on three areas in particular: the LA County Office of Education, the Probation Department and the Fire Department. She took the job in June, shortly before her six-year tenure as school board president came to an end.
“Certainly, my role changed, and it did give me an opportunity to accept a new responsibility,” said Garcia. “Change is good.”
School Board members have the choice of either working full-time, earning $45,637 a year, or part-time, making $26,347 with the freedom to take another job. Besides Garcia, only one other member of the board is part-time, Tamar Galatzan, who has a full-time job as an assistant city attorney.
It’s worth noting that both part-timers, Garcia and Galatzan, have settled into their role as the minority faction on the school board, after years in the majority. On a number of votes at Tuesday’s Board Meeting, they found themselves on the losing end of 5-2 decisions.
Garcia had been rumored to be considering a run for State Assembly in 2014, but she said she is “one hundred percent” not running and is committed to finishing off her last three years on the School Board.
“There’s a lot to do,” she said. “People don’t understand how much there is to do.”
- “There’s a lot to do,” she said. “People don’t understand how much there is to do.” And she’s going to do it part time!
- I have long been an advocate for better, stronger, more-meaningful collaboration between LACOE and LAUSD – maybe this is an opportunity for that!
- That said, there is also a potential for conflict-of-interest here, both at LAUSD and LACOE.
- LACOE is charged with fiscal oversight of LAUSD; the LACOE Board of Ed must approve all LAUSD budgets.
- The LACOE Board (and the LACOE Superintendent) are direct appointees of the Board of Supervisors.
- The authority of the Board of Supervisors over the County Office of Education far exceeds any authority Mayor Tony attempted over LAUSD.
- This situation of an appointed board and superintendent is unique in California where most county board of ed and/or county superintendents are elected.
- Supervisors make appointments to the board for two or four year terms but boardmembers serve at the pleasure of the supervisors individually+severally. In the past LACOE board members and the superintendent have been summarily dismissed for not adhering to the desires/whims/political philosophy and/or maintaining the confidence of their appointing authority.
- Ms Garcia’s position appears to make her the go-between between Supervisor Molina and the County Board of Ed and Superintendent.