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New School Board Is Sworn In, Then Ousts President

Education: Young replaces Hayes as head of panel after two new members join coalition.


The Los Angeles Board of Education elected Caprice Young its new president Tuesday in a divided vote that indicated a new coalition--and some disaffection--among the board's seven members.

Young took the board's gavel from Genethia Hudley Hayes, who had served as president since her election to the board two years ago. Support developed for Young, who represents Hollywood and the southeastern San Fernando Valley, after Hayes sharply criticized the campaign that ousted board member Valerie Fields last month.

Fields lost to Marlene Canter in the race to represent West Los Angeles and the West Valley. At a farewell meeting for Fields last week, Hayes called the campaign that opposed her close friend "scurrilous" and "unethical," among other terms.

After she lost the presidency to Young on Tuesday, Hayes stood by those words, but added that she directed her criticism at a group that backed Canter, not the candidate herself.

"I was not casting aspersions on [Canter] as a new board member, and I think that's important for the public to understand," Hayes said.

Canter thanked Hayes for her statement but said nothing else.

Canter, new member Jose Huizar and six-year board member David Tokofsky backed Young for president. Julie Korenstein, who recently won reelection to a fifth term, and two-year member Mike Lansing supported Hayes.

Tuesday's vote may signal that a new but fragile coalition has formed on the school board. But as for how the panel will conduct its business, Young's election offers few hints. Being president of the board overseeing the Los Angeles Unified School District brings little extra power and no extra salary. Young will preside over the board's meetings and appoint members to its committees.

Known as the board member least allied with the union representing Los Angeles teachers, Young said after her election that she will create a Human Resources Committee to focus on the district's employees and its relations with them. She said she appointed Huizar, whose district includes downtown, East and Southeast Los Angeles, as the board's vice president.

Young, 35, said she saw a chance to repair rifts on the board.

"I think it was necessary for someone to reach across the chasm and welcome the new folks," she said. "There is a lot of healing that needs to happen."

Before Tuesday's meeting, Canter, Huizar and Korenstein were inaugurated in front of a facade of a red schoolhouse in the shady courtyard of L.A. Unified's downtown headquarters.

In his speech, Huizar urged his colleagues to pursue "educational justice" and prove the nation's second-largest school district can succeed despite its size.

"The burden of proof is no longer on the advocates who want to break up the school district. . . . Let's not deceive ourselves that a small reform here or there will be sufficient," Huizar said.

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