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Think your vote doesn’t matter? Uneven early voting across LAUSD Districts means it may count more than ever.

Are you wondering whether the vote is effectively all over. Whether so many early ballots have been returned there’s, say, little point still in advocating for Schools And Community First (prop 15)? For community college board members? For Schools local bond measure RR? For your LAUSD BD3 (Schmerelson Koziatek) or LAUSD BD7 (Castellanos Franklin) board member?

The TL;DR is Your vote is still needed! Your advocacy is crucial. At best 4 in 5 ballots have not yet been counted as returned. Students are needing their voters’ support.

Who’s already gotten their VBM in? Who votes in the districts electing a school board member?

Turns out, there are 2.6m registered voters in LAUSD (according to PDI as of 10/10/20). Table 1 shows which districts have the most voters. Nick Melvoin’s board district 1 serving the Westside and Hollywood area all the way up to Toluca Lake and into Topanga Canyon, has the most registered voters. The fewest are in Mónica Garcia’s Eastside board district 2. There are runoff elections occurring for board seats in Scott Schmerelson’s West Valley board district 3 and the region’s very southern part board district 7. In terms of registered voters, these are ranked #2 and #4 (see table 3 below)

Table 1: Total number of registered voters by board district, and the relative proportion of registered voters between board districts. The proportion of returned ballots as of 10/20/20 is shown in yellow.

Table 1: Total number of registered voters by board district, and the relative proportion of registered voters between board districts. The proportion of returned ballots as of 10/20/20 is shown in yellow.

However this is not the way the board districts are distributed by student population. For comparison, Table 2 shows the distribution of public students served within the footprint of LAUSD’s board districts. Some are in schools chartered by the State or County, some are chartered by LAUSD according to two different fiscal management paradigms – dependent on LAUSD and fiscally “independent”. Regular district students are included in blue. The data are from 2018-19, explored further here.

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Table 2: Distribution of students according to the management paradigm of school attended. LA Unified district schools are in blue; charter schools in other colors. Chartering is by State, County and LAUSD; fiscal management by LAUSD-chartered schools may or may not be dependent on the district.

Table 2: Distribution of students according to the management paradigm of school attended. LA Unified district schools are in blue; charter schools in other colors. Chartering is by State, County and LAUSD; fiscal management by LAUSD-chartered schools may or may not be dependent on the district.

Board district 7 covering the south of the region has the most students, the fewest by far are served by board district 4. This is the opposite ranking, roughly, of voter registration:

Table 3: Rank of number of students served and registered voters across LAUSD board districts. BD4 with the fewest students has the most registered voters.

Table 3: Rank of number of students served and registered voters across LAUSD board districts. BD4 with the fewest students has the most registered voters.

Socioeconomic status is further explored for 2018-19 as a function of board district here. View LAUSD’s board districts hereRedistricting for LAUSD informed by the 2020 Census has begun already.

Table 4 shows the relative distribution of registered Democrats, Republicans and other registration-types within each board district. Neither ‘Republican-nor-Democrat’ constitutes nearly one third of all voters registered in each board district. School board members run in non-partisan races, though party Committees will typically endorse only their own.

Table 4: Total number of registered voters by party across board districts as of 10/20/20.

Table 4: Total number of registered voters by party across board districts as of 10/20/20.

Covid has underlain a revolution in our voting system. Between early voting at vote centers, VBMs for all, same-day registration and computerized tracking of ballots, this is no more pulling of levers behind a curtain, Mayberry RFD style. With the influx of more adult voters than ever (well, recently), it is critical that our minors who are without a vote not be overlooked. In these times of food and safety insecurity now more than ever, fair funding for our schools is vital. Don’t be lured by the canard that economic uncertainty dictates doubling down on austerity for our children. Don’t conflate economic uncertainty with legislative ambiguity: a loophole closed does not a collapse presage.

sara-roos

In truth the opposite holds: if resources are not held certain now, then when?? Please help turn out the vote for Prop 15 (Schools and Communities First), construction bond Measure RR, Community College board members and LA Unified school board members in LAUSD3 and LAUSD7.

Sara Roos
Los Angeles Education Examiner