Millions of dollars have poured into races for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education this year in contests that could for the first time shift the balance of power in the nation’s second-largest school district in favor of fast growth of charter schools.
In early returns, Monica Garcia, a charter ally, appeared on her way to another term in District 2, while in District 4, school board President Steve Zimmer was in first place but seemed headed for a May runoff against Nick Melvoin, who also had backing from pro-charter forces.
A runoff also seemed likely for the third seat on the ballot, where there was no incumbent. In that race, Kelly Gonez was ahead of Imelda Padilla in a field of six.
To avoid a runoff of the top two finishers, a candidate had to claim more than 50% of the votes. Tuesday’s races marked the latest battle between supporters of charter schools and those allied with the teachers union. Those two factions spent millions of dollars on outside campaigns that dominated the election.
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