Runoff election for Los Angeles school board has long-term implications for future of California’s largest district

The outcome of Tuesday’s special election runoff between Jackie Goldberg and Heather Repenning for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified school board has long term implications for how California’s largest school district will deal with a range of major challenges, such as how to balance a multi-billion dollar budget, how to regulate hundreds of charter schools and whether to look for a new superintendent.

They are running to fill a vacant seat in District 5 left by the resignation of former board president Ref Rodriguez, a former charter school founder who was convicted of campaign money laundering when he first ran for the board.

Because Los Angeles Unified is by far California’s largest district — with five times more students than San Diego, the next biggest district — the success of its students has lasting effects not only on the entire region, but arguably on the state as a whole.

Unlike in at least the two previous board elections, this is not a case of candidates being backed by forces in favor or against charter school expansion in the district.

While the charter conflict has attracted most attention, bigger issues facing the district are how it will avoid possible insolvency two or three years from now, what cutbacks it will have to make to do so and how it will deliver on promises made in a contract it signed with teachers after a strike earlier this year. Click here to read more: