2024 LAUSD Elections

Charter Schools, SpEd, Vaccine Mandates, and Other Answers

What did seven of the eight candidates running for the BD3 LAUSD School Board seat have to say about issues facing the School District?

Carl J. Petersen
Published in
12 min readNov 25, 2023


“If a child is not feeling well, then he is not learning well.”

– BD3 Candidate Richard Ramos

Photo by Carl Petersen

On Saturday, November 18, 2023, the candidates for the BD3 LAUSD School Board seat (minus no-show Elizabeth Badger) spent just under three hours answering questions from the community about the direction of the School District. The following is a summary of the questions and their answers, starting with the opening statements:

Raquel Villalta: Running to “protect the kids.”

Andreas Farmakalidis: “Music has a rightful place in education.”

Janie Dam: Wants to bring the lessons of charter schools to public schools.

Richard Ramos: Sees himself in students. The “sense of hope is diminished. We need the courage to fight.” Need to challenge Primary Promise.

Dan Chang: Running to bring change, but did not specify what that change would be.

Scott Schmerelson: Kids are the same no matter where you go. His goal is to “Push for excellence in education.”

  • The LAUSD has an $18.8 billion budget that must be approved by the LAUSD School Board. How would your experience ensure that you understand this complicated document before voting on it?

Raquel Villalta: Served on her child’s school site council. Claims the district is running at a deficit. Would improve the public’s access to the budget.

(Author’s note: From Jacobin: “The LAUSD ended the 2020–21 school year with an $800 million surplus and the 2021–22 school year with a $500 million surplus. It is poised to end the current 2022–23 school year with an incredible $1.5 billion surplus.)

Andreas Farmakalidis: Has managed the budgets for multiple Chambers of Commerce. Is a business owner. Noted that much of the funding for COVID is expiring. He would seek…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com