Nearly 100,000 Los Angeles students are heading back to school without an elected representative because of the empty LA Unified school board seat in District 5.
The District 5 seat — one of seven in the district, each with its own elected board member — was held by Ref Rodríguez, who pleaded guilty to money-laundering charges on July 23 and had to resign the position. He was elected in 2015; his term would have ended in June 2019.
The remaining six board members have until late September to decide how to fill the seat, which represents students in LA’s southeast and northeast.
LA Unified’s general counsel, David Holmquist, said board members can appointsomeone to serve out the remainder of Rodríguez’s term, call for a special election (which would most likely be held in March), or they can do both, appointing someone to serve until an election. The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 21, where they might vote on what choice to pursue.
A former board member and at least two elected officials have shown interest in filling the seat before an election can be held. But education advocates are pushing for the community to have a say in the selection of the new representative. The Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS) coalition, led by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has called for a special election “as expeditiously as possible” so District’s 5 constituents can directly decide who they want to represent them.
Among the priorities the coalition has laid out for District 5 is to “have a leader who will ensure that funding and policy decisions are made in the best interest of children and families,” according to a statement issued by the coalition the week of Rodríguez’s resignation. “We urge the Board of Education to make an appointment of a qualified, equity-minded individual who can fulfill all the duties and responsibilities of a board representative that the families of Board District 5 require.” Click here to read more: http://laschoolreport.com/100000-lausd-students-have-no-representative-here-are-5-things-to-know-about-board-district-5-vacated-by-ref-rodriguezs-resignation/