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Rocío Rivas Declares Victory In LAUSD District 2 Board Race

Two brown-skinned women sit on a stage in upholstered chairs during a candidate debate. The woman on the right, in a pink shirt and floral skirt, holds a microphone and is speaking. The woman on the left wears a suit jacket, orange shirt, and listens.
Rocío Rivas (right) and María Brenes participate in a candidate roundtable during the campaign for the L.A. Unified School Board's District 2 seat on Oct. 11, 2022.
(Ryanne Mena
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Rocío Rivas declared victory Friday evening in her bid for an L.A. Unified school board seat. Rivas leads opponent María Brenes in the race for the District 2 seat, which represents parts of central and east L.A. on the school board.

Where the count stands

At the end of Friday’s counting, Rivas held more than 52% of the vote and her lead over Brenes had grown to more than 4,500 votes — a margin that’s grown steadily for the last week. "I am ready to bring my very best to all of our constituents," Rivas said in a statement on her Twitter account. "… You can count on me to serve our district with unwavering dedication.”

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L.A.'s teachers union endorsed Rivas

Her victory strengthens United Teachers Los Angeles’ political position at a time when union officials are in the midst of talks with LAUSD for a new contract. Rivas' win is also a boost for skeptics of charter schools; Rivas has pledged tougher oversight of the publicly-funded, privately-run schools.

A measurable loss for the 'Equity Alliance'

Brenes has lobbied the school board as part of a loose coalition of advocacy groups that want LAUSD to spend more money on targeted programs for schools with the most extreme levels of need. In the past, these groups have also pushed for less-restrictive discipline policies and higher graduation standards. The termed-out incumbent board member, Mónica García, was a reliable ally for these groups — and Brenes' loss means these groups are down by a voice on the board dais.

Rivas won despite being drastically outspent

Brenes’ own campaign out-fundraised Rivas’. Plus, two deep-pocketed UTLA critics — Bill Bloomfield and Reed Hastings — spent nearly $3 million hoping to swing the race to Brenes. The school district’s second-biggest labor union, SEIU Local 99, spent another $2 million-plus on Brenes’ behalf. UTLA spent around $3 million to back Rivas.

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Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).