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School Board Chief Visits Capital Over Takeover Plan

Marlene Canter talks to lawmakers about Mayor Villaraigosa's proposal to lead L.A. Unified.

April 27, 2006|Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Board of Education President Marlene Canter quietly traveled to Sacramento on Wednesday to discuss with state lawmakers the ongoing battle for control of the city school district.

The trip comes days before the introduction of widely anticipated legislation that, if passed, would strip the seven-member school board of much of its power and give Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sweeping powers over the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The expected bill is the centerpiece of Villaraigosa's campaign to take control of the district. Board members have struggled to effectively counter the mayor's relentless attacks and tout district successes.

Under his plan, the board would function mostly as a parents' advocate and would oversee student discipline.

Also on Wednesday, Villaraigosa met with mayors and city council members from many of the more than two dozen other cities served by the school district to discuss his takeover proposal. Leaders from the surrounding cities have expressed concern that Villaraigosa's plan does not give them enough decision-making power.

Canter did not publicize the trip beforehand but said Wednesday that she had met with state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) and state Board of Education President Glee Johnson.

"I came up here to take the temperature of colleagues in Sacramento," Canter said. "I wanted to find out first-hand the tone about the mayor's proposal."

Canter said she was planning to return to the capital Monday and the week following to meet with other lawmakers.

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