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Campaign Spending Records in LAUSD Board Election Before Primary

by Michael Higham, published

LAUSD Board election

Last month, IVN covered the pace of independent expenditures and the New York mayor's involvement in the Los Angeles school board elections.

At the time, outside spending topped $2.5 million for three contested seats on the board. The three campaigns reached $4.8 million leading up to Tuesday's primary, setting new records of spending for school board elections. Tweet it: Tweet

Credit: Los Angeles City Ethics Commission

lausd board election

Current board president Monica Garcia is running for re-election in LAUSD's sub-district two. She is far ahead in spending compared to her four primary opponents. Her supporters have currently used $1.27 million while $111,354 has been spent to oppose her.

The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has only spent a combined $22,000 to support three other candidates running for sub-district two. Tweet it: Tweet

Sub-district four is shaping up to be the most contentious as Kate Anderson challenges incumbent Steve Zimmer. $879,385 has been spent to support Anderson while $438,933 has been spent to oppose her. Zimmer's campaign reports $616,353 and $319,512 in outside spending in support and opposition, respectively.

The race between Anderson and Zimmer will come to a close after the primary, since they're running head-to-head. Any candidate who receives 50 percent plus one of the vote is determined the winner. Theoretically, an exact tie is the only way the race will continue to the May runoff.

Antonio Sanchez is the only candidate in the sub-district six race with independent expenditures to report. All $1.18 million spent was in support of Sanchez.

The LAUSD Board elections have broken previous spending records just before the primary vote. The 2011 LAUSD election reached $4.7 million by the time it ended and four seats were up for grabs. The 2013 cycle topped last cycle's independent expenditures with only three seats in contention.

The spending increase indicates growing urgency from school reform activists. The board majority can be swayed to favor school reform measures that have been unpopular to some teachers and the teachers' union. Tweet quote: Tweet

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy advocates measures such as parent trigger laws and charter school growth.

Steve Zimmer was often seen as the swing vote on the school board and is known to reject charter school expansion. Reformers are putting their trust in Kate Anderson to change the composition of the LAUSD board majority.

The Coalition for School Reform slate campaign is responsible for most of the independent expenditures supporting Garcia, Anderson, and Sanchez.

The three board seats up for election have accounted for half of the outside spending in Los Angeles' fourteen races. Total outside spending for the city's 2013 municipal elections is currently at $9.58 million.

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