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Unions, Charter Supporters Eyeing Los Angeles Board Runoffs

As they have for several years now, the Los Angeles school district board elections are attracting attention, as key power players—most notably, the city teachers' union and pro-charter school advocacy groups—duke it out to elect candidates favorable to their causes. 

The latest news, as The Los Angeles Times reports, is that charter school supporters won one major victory March 4 when their favored candidate Ref Rodriguez eked out a lead over the union-backed incumbent, Bennett Keyser, putting the two on course for a runoff. On the other hand, a second incumbent backed by charter groups, Tamar Galatzan, was forced into a runoff. And the union, which had not supported her opponent, is now considering putting money behind him. The runoff elections will take place in May.

The backdrop here is the ongoing contract negotiations between United Teachers Los Angeles and the district, which have become pretty acrimonious and given rise to a lot of chatter about a possible strike. The composition of the board could well affect whether compromises are made as negotiations continue, and what they might be.

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