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Monica Garcia Chosen As New LAUSD Board President

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The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education has selected board member Monica Garcia as its new president, reports the L.A. Times.

Garcia, 49, is a familiar name, as she served as president in the past from 2007 to 2013. Garcia, currently the longest serving member on the board, oversees District 2, which covers much of downtown L.A. and East L.A.

Prior to being selected to the president role, Garcia was the only part-time member of the board, notes LA School Report. She’d switched to part-time in 2013 after she started working under Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Garcia told LA School Report in a message that she will be leaving her County job. “I will be separating from my service at LA County to serve full time on the board,” said Garcia.

By leaving her job, Garcia will be eligible for the pay raise that had been voted in by LAUSD’s Board of Education Compensation Review Committee in July. In the past, board members who worked other jobs could not make more than $26,437 a year; that figure was boosted to $50,000 a year after the vote. The vote also boosted full-time salaries from $45,637 a year to $125,000 a year.

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The approval of Garcia's new role comes after board member Ref Rodriguez announced his resignation from the president’s post last week. Rodriguez stepped down after the L.A. County District Attorney charged him with three felony counts over his campaign finances. The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, who conducted a months-long investigation into Rodriguez’s 2015 campaign for office, concluded that he’d participated in "political money laundering." Rodriguez is accused of paying back about $24,000 to donors listed on a campaign finance report. These donors were allegedly friends and family of Rodriguez’s, said the County D.A.

While Rodriguez has stepped down as president, he continues to serve as a member of the board. As noted at the L.A. Times, Rodriguez’s vote mattered in the approval of Garcia as the new president. Garcia, who the Times characterizes as an “ally” to Rodriguez, was voted in 4-3. Garcia has reportedly selected board member Nick Melvoin as vice president.