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News Update

Four vie for open Los Angeles Unified School Board seat in toned-down election

Eastside Los Angeles voters will decide Tuesday which of four political newcomers will advance to the general election to replace termed-out school board member Monica Garcia in what may be the most low-key Los Angeles School board election in more than a decade.

L.A. school board races in recent years have been battlegrounds between charter school advocates and the district’s teachers union, according to the Los Angeles Times. L.A. school board elections often break national spending records, and there’s usually mudslinging.

Spending by outside political groups leading into this year’s primary is around a third of what it was two years ago, according to the Los Angeles Times; the LAist reported that the groups have spent significantly less on negative advertising this year compared with 2020.

The District 2 school board candidates include nonprofit director Maria Brenes, finance officer Erica Vilardi-Espinosa, substitute teacher Miguel Angel Segura, and Rocio Rivas, who is a research and policy deputy for school board member Jackie Goldberg.

Rivas and Brenes may be the frontrunners in the race: Rivas has the endorsement of the United Teachers Los Angeles, and Brenes leads in fundraising with support from non-teacher labor union Service Employees International Union Local 99 and charter school advocates.

Two incumbents on the seven-person school board, Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin, are also up for reelection but don’t face a well-funded challenge, according to the Times.