UPDATE, January 9, 2014: The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted 4-2 at its meeting Tuesday to wait until June to hold a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death last month of Marguerite LaMotte. This decision was made despite strong community support for an immediate appointment or election.
As the LA Sentinel reports:
...Amid an overflow crowd of passionate and divided advocates ...the Board declared a June 3 election that will cost the district $973,000. LaMotte died while attending a conference on ... Dec. 5, leaving more than 300,000 students unrepresented in a district that serves 20% of African American pupils. Constituents and community leaders challenged the remaining six board members to make the appointment of accomplished retired educator Dr. George McKenna to fill out her remaining term until 2015. Board members listened to passionate pleas in support of McKenna for more than four hours on Tuesday Jan. 7 at an emergency board meeting, but in the end voted 4-2 in favor of a special election....
December 10, 2013: The LA School Report posts today that the California Charter Schools Association is collecting signatures to petition the Los Angeles Unified School District board to hold a special election to fill the seat held by the late Marguerite LaMotte, who died last week.
School board District 1, which LaMotte had represented since 2003, includes parts of south LA, Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills. It stretches as far west as Palms, north to Hancock Park, and south to Gardena. As of this year, there are about 40 charter schools operating in the district, serving more than 12,000 students. Only District 2, represented by Monica Garcia, has more charter schools.
CCSA spokeswoman Sierra Jenkins, says the CCSA plans to circulate a petition next week, among parents of charter school students “to encourage the board to hold a special election.”
A former teacher and principal, LaMotte was a strong ally for teachers and other district employees, which won her lasting support from UTLA, the teachers union, as well as SEIU, a public employees union. For most of her tenure on the board, she staunchly opposed charter schools, though she did soften her views in recent years.
Regardless, LaMotte often complained in board meetings that schools in her district were hemorrhaging students and resources to local charter schools popping up by the dozens every year. Though she was often outnumbered, she sought to restrict the number charter schools approved by the board and advocated for more stringent oversight...
By terms of the LA city charter, the board has two options to fill the seat. It can appoint a replacement to serve through the end of LaMotte’s term, June 30, 2015, or it can work with the city to hold a special election, with the winner serving the same period.