By David Fonseca | Eagle Rock Patch | http://bit.ly/eQMgHb
Feb 22 | 11:24am - Northeast Los Angeles residents on Wednesday will have their chance to question the
three four candidates vying to represent District 5 on the LAUSD board of directors during a public forum to be held at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Benjamin Franklin High School.
District 5 comprises the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Mount Washington, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, as well as several East L.A. communities and the unincorporated city of East Los Angeles.
Running for the seat are two LAUSD teachers, Bennet Kayser and John Ferdnandez, as well as Luis Sanchez, a former city commissioner that currently serves as the chief of staff to Los Angeles Unified School Board President Monica Garcia.
Kayser enters the last two weeks of the campaign bolstered by the endorsement of Unified Teachers Los Angeles, the district's teachers union. Meanwhile Fernandez, who had originally earned UTLA's endorsement but had it revoked after union members learned of undisclosed tax liens and a bankruptcy on his record, is reeling.
Sanchez, the only non-teacher in the group, has the backing of renowned UTLA antagonist Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Incumbent Yolie Flores Aguilar announced that she would not run for reelection so she could take on a new job as the director of an education advocacy reform organization formed by Bill and Melinda Gates.
Despite myriad issues facing the school district--including high dropout rates, competition with charter schools and the need for increased system-wide accountability--turnout in the most recent LAUSD election, held in 2007, was only 9 percent, according to the Los Angeles City Clerk.
"This is why it is so important to put on a fair, balanced and informative forum where the candidates can discuss how they will tackle the challenges facing LA’s sprawling school district," said Philip Iglauer, of the Northeast Coalition, which is hosting the forum. "This forum will provide candidates with a unique opportunity to distinguish themselves from one another vying for the unenviable task of education reform."
Benjamin Franklin High School
820 N Avenue 54, Los Angeles, CA