Heather Repenning and Jackie Goldberg portraits

Heather Repenning (left) & Jackie Goldberg

Next Tuesday former state assembly member Jackie Goldberg and former Garcetti aide Heather Repenning will face off in an election to become the next Los Angeles Unified School District 5 board member.

The winner will be part of a seven-member board charting the future of the nation’s second largest school district with more than 500,000 children, mostly from low-income families.

Goldberg garnered the most votes by far during the March primary. She came close but failed to win at least 50% of the vote, setting the stage for the May 14 runoff against second-placer vote getter Repenning.

Why vote?

The district is facing a tough time with divisions over the fate of charter schools, a controversial effort to reorganize the district and serious financial challenges.

Despite strides toward improving graduation rates, less than half of the district’s graduating class are eligible for the state’s public universities, according to LA School Report.

Who can vote?

You must be a registered voter in District 5, which covers Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock and City Terrace in the northeast, and southeast cities of Huntington Park, Bell South Gate, Vernon, Maywood, Cudahy.  Go here to find your sample ballot and polling place.

What’s the difference in candidates?

Both favor changes to state law giving LAUSD more say in turning down new charter school applications and other curbs on charter growth, according to LAist, which has a good run down of the candidates. But Repenning is more moderate in her approach to dealing with charter schools than Goldberg.

Goldberg, 74 lives in Echo Park, served on the LA City Council (1994-2000), LAUSD as a board member (1983-1991) and was a state assemblywoman (2000-2006). She’s endorsed by the teacher’s union. She had pushed to get appointed to the seat that was vacated last year by Ref Rodriguez, who plead guilty to charges related to illegal campaign fundraising, but the board sought a special election instead. She fell two percent points below the needed majority to win the primary.

Repenning, 44 lives in Los Feliz, was a longtime aide to Mayor Eric Garcetti (he’s will be joining Repenning today in Glassell Park for a press conference about homeless students) and formerly sat as vice president on the city’s public works commission. She has an elementary age daughter at an LAUSD school and would be the only school board member with a child in the district. She was endorsed by the LA Times. She beat out Huntington Park Mayor Graciela Ortiz in the primaries, winning 13 percent of the vote by 31 votes. Whoever wins will only serve out the remainder of Rodriguez term which expires December 2020.

Where do I vote?

Find your polling place through the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk.

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