2024 LAUSD Elections
Sacrificing Special Education
With a Board majority at stake, families are told that now isn’t the time to confront a large, complicated, and often unyielding bureaucracy.
– Scott Schmerelson’s 2020 campaign
In the most recent edition of my Candidate Forum series, I asked those competing for a seat on the LAUSD School Board to take on the subject of Special Education. Of the 23 candidates running district-wide, only four responded. For those in the Special Education community, this lack of participation is not surprising as our representatives on the Board do not seem to understand the issues our families face and how adversarial the system has become.
While the eight years Scott Schmerelson has spent on the School Board, in addition to his professional experience as a teacher and a school administrator, should have put him in the best position to answer these questions confidently, the incumbent Board Member has not yet participated. (1) In fact, Andreas Farmakalidis is the only one of the eight BD3 candidates who hope to appear on the March 5, 2024, ballot who shared his opinions with the electorate.
My family lives in BD 3 and Schmerelson is our Board Member. I have known him personally since we both ran against former Board Member Tamar Galatzan in 2015. When he came in second during the primary and forced the incumbent into a runoff I endorsed his candidacy and actively campaigned for him. When Schmerelson had an anti-Semitic campaign lodged against him in 2020, I once again fought by his side and helped him to secure reelection. I anticipated doing the same in 2024, his last election before riding into the imposed term limit sunset. However, several events in the past few months have me rethinking that path.