Ref Rodriguez beat out incumbent Bennett Kayser in the District 5 school board race after charter school groups and unions spent more than $3 million battling to influence voters in the district that includes Eastside schools.
The unofficial results show that Rodriguez, who co-founded a charter school operator, won 53.5% of the more than 23,000 votes, according to the City Clerk.
“This is a historic victory, as Los Angeles embraces positive change for our schools,” Rodriguez said on his campaign’s Facebook page. “This was a community effort and is a community victory.”
But Rodriguez’ victory did not come without a large amount of financial support from charter school organizations that wanted to oust Kayser, a Silver Lake resident who had frequently opposed the expansion of charters in the district.
According to the L.A. Times, charters school groups poured more than $2.4 million in the campaign in support of Rodriguez. The teachers’ union, meanwhile, spent $1 million to back Kayser.
The stakes were high in the often tense campaign that flooded voters mail boxes with mailers that featured some controversial claims and heated exchanges.
LA Schools Report notes that the charter schools’ victory in District 5 was offset by a loss in the District 4 school board race. In that contest, Scott Schmerelson, who was supported by the teachers’ union, defeated incumbent Tamar Galatzan.
Eastside Schools Directory & Maps
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