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L.A. Board of Education's new election boundaries approved

The boundaries, which were approved by the L.A. City Council, change minimally. The boundaries offer something to each sitting board member.

April 26, 2012|By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

The new election boundaries for the Los Angeles Board of Education will change minimally under new maps approved Wednesday, although they will offer something for each of the politicians who now hold those offices.

The boundaries, which were approved on a 9-2 vote by the L.A. City Council, followed a process that, early on, looked as though it could end the careers of several school board members. Early proposals moved the homes of some outside their district, or left them with territories that would be difficult to hold in an election.

The maps determine the voting districts for the seven school board seats across the sprawling L.A. Unified School District, the nation's second largest. Boundaries must be adjusted, as needed, every 10 years to account for population shifts.

An appointed commission finally emerged with maps that appeared to benefit District 2 board member Monica Garcia — the board's closest ally of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — and to target District 5 board member Bennett Kayser, who narrowly defeated the mayor's endorsed candidate last year.

But the presumed mayoral power play eroded with the council's action. The council restored most of Kayser's boundaries.

It also diverged from the commission plan by keeping more elementary and middle schools in the same district as the high schools they feed into, including Marshall High in Los Feliz, which will remain in the area Kayser represents.

Garcia emerged with a smaller win: She'll now add Garfield High, in East Los Angeles, to the schools she represents. Her allies had wanted to unite the Eastside within Garcia's district, but achieved only part of that goal.

Two other board members, Steve Zimmer and Tamar Galatzan, wanted the council to restore their accustomed north/south border in the San Fernando Valley, and they got their way Wednesday. Board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, the board's only African American, retained a south and southwest Los Angeles district that she — or another black candidate — is positioned to maintain.

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