LAUSD School Board: Former Teacher Backed By Charter School Advocates Wins District 7 Seat

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

Votes %
Patricia Castellanos 79,900 42.68%
Tanya Ortiz Franklin 107,303 57.32%

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

Tanya Ortiz Franklin, a former teacher whose campaign was backed by charter school advocates, will be the next representative of District 7 on the L.A. Unified School District Board.

Her challenger, Patricia Castellanos, conceded the race. In a Facebook post, she said her campaign "could not overcome the amount of money poured into this race by outside big money."

"We fought for every vote up until the last minute and engaged voters about a vision of a quality public education for ALL of our students," she wrote. "Thank you to my amazing campaign team and the hundreds of volunteers that spent hours engaging voters over the last few months."


For years, both pro-charter school groups and Los Angeles' main teachers union have been locked in an expensive struggle for control of the L.A. Unified school board.

And this year, the only board member to have enjoyed support from both sides in this proxy war is not on the ballot.

In his 12 years representing LAUSD Board District 7, Richard Vladovic was the swing vote in charter-versus-union proxy battles. Now, in the race to replace the term-limited Vladovic, both sides see a chance to tip the balance of power on the LAUSD board.

United Teachers Los Angeles and other unions endorsed Castellanos, a veteran labor organizer. But the unions were outspent by pro-charter mega-donors Reed Hastings and Bill Bloomfield, who backed former teacher Ortiz Franklin.

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Patricia Castellanos

Castellanos is a 50-year-old deputy to County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and former leader of the labor-allied advocacy group Reclaim Our Schools L.A. She's the parent of an LAUSD second grader. Here's a summary of her views on several major issues.

Tanya Ortiz Franklin

Ortiz Franklin is a 36-year-old former middle school teacher who's now an administrator at the Partnership for L.A. Schools, which manages 19 high-needs LAUSD campuses. Here's a summary of her views on several major issues.


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The boundaries of District 7 are shown in white. (Courtesy of LAUSD)

LAUSD Board District 7 covers South L.A. neighborhoods east of the 110 Freeway and winds through the South Bay cities of Gardena, Carson and Lomita to San Pedro and Wilmington.

Three-quarters of the students in Board District 7 schools are Latino, mirroring LAUSD as a whole. BD7 also has the largest Black population of any board district; 13% of students in the area are Black.

The demographics of the electorate in BD7 are slightly different than the student population. Latinos (44%) make up the largest chunk of registered voters there -- but there are significant white (26%), Black (20%) and Asian (10%) voter populations in the district as well.

Both candidates in Board District 7 identify as Latina. That means regardless of who wins Tuesday's board elections, Black and Latino members will comprise a majority of the seven-member LAUSD board for the first time since 2017.


A Note On The Results


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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.


Kyle Stokes is following three races on Tuesday: the LAUSD race here and in Board District 3, 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.


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