LAUSD School Board: Challenger Concedes To Incumbent In District 3 Race

Updated Nov 10, 2020 6:17 PM |
Published Nov 3, 2020

Votes %
Scott Schmerelson 140,416 53.31%
Marilyn Koziatek 122,975 46.69%

* These results will be continually updated. Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 6:17 p.m.


Marilyn Koziatek, who received heavy financial backing from charter school advocates, conceded the race for to represent District 3 on the board of the L.A. Unified School District to incumbent Scott Schmerelson.

The latest vote count showed her trailing Schmerelson by 7 percentage points -- or around 18,000 votes. More ballots remain to be counted, and Koziatek has whittled away at Schmerelson's lead in the early vote counts, but probably not by margins she'd need to overtake him.

"This election had unprecedented voter turn-out," Koziatek wrote in a Facebook post, "and my volunteers and donors should share my pride in the more than 110,000 votes for me. While it wasn't enough to win, it represents a terrific campaign that we should all be proud of."

Schmerelson's apparent victory is a consolation prize for United Teachers Los Angeles. The teachers union needed to win both of Tuesday's LAUSD races in order to secure a friendly majority on the school board, but the candidate UTLA had backed in the District 7 races conceded earlier this week.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Schmerelson had to overcome one of the most lopsided financial disadvantages any LAUSD incumbent had ever faced.

The California Charter Schools Association has outspent L.A.'s teachers union -- which supported Schmerelson -- by a six-to-one margin in District 3.

Charter advocates saw a chance to gain a majority on the seven-member LAUSD board, and threw their support behind candidate Koziatek. They also paid a nearly-unprecedented sum for ads attacking Schmerelson.

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But Schmerelson has endeared himself to supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles. During the union's 2019 strike, he publicly broke with the superintendent to voice support for UTLA's demands. Schmerelson has also been critical of charter school expansion.

So between union allies' ground game and the advantage of incumbency, can Schmerelson hang on? Or will charters' spending on the race be too much for Schmerelson to overcome?

CANDIDATE BIOS

Marilyn Koziatek

Koziatek is the 39-year-old head of the tutoring and enrichment department at Granada Hills Charter High School. Her two sons attend an LAUSD school. Here's a summary of her views on several major issues.

Scott Schmerelson

Schmerelson, 69, worked for 40 years in LAUSD as a teacher, counselor and middle school principal. District 3 voters elected him to the LAUSD board in 2015. Here's a summary of his views on several major issues.

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LAUSD DISTRICT 3

Map shows the borders of the LAUSD District 3 board seat in white. (Courtesy of LAUSD)

LAUSD Board District 3 covers the relatively affluent west San Fernando Valley, although around 60% of the district's students are considered low-income. Across LAUSD, roughly 80% of students fit that label.

As a whole, LAUSD schools serve an overwhelmingly Latino student population. In Board District 3, though, around half the students are Latino and one-quarter are white.

By contrast, the population of registered voters in Board District 3 is roughly two-thirds white. Latinos comprise only 22% of registered voters in the district, and Asians around 9%, according to figures from Political Data, Inc.

A Note On The Results

YOUR BALLOT

You can track the status of your ballot:

If your mail-in ballot is rejected for any reason (like a missing or mismatched signature), your county registrar must contact you to give you a chance to fix it. In Los Angeles County, the registrar will send you a notification by mail and you have until Nov. 28 to reply and "cure" your ballot.

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HOW WE ARE COVERING THIS ELECTION

Kyle Stokes is following three races on Tuesday: the LAUSD race here and in Board District 7, as well as the statewide vote on Proposition 15.

The unprecedented number of early voters and mail-in ballots this election means it's going to take more time to get votes counted. Our priority will be sharing outcomes and election calls only when they have been thoroughly checked and vetted. To that end, we will rely on NPR and The Associated Press for race calls. We will not report the calls or projections of other news outlets. You can find more on NPR and The AP's process for counting votes and calling races here, here and here.

OTHER RESULTS WE ARE FOLLOWING CLOSELY

In L.A.

Statewide

Congress

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