Thursday, June 29, 2017

Newly elected L.A. Unified board member Nick Melvoin hires a charter school advocate as his chief of staff - LA Times

Newly elected L.A. Unified board member Nick Melvoin hires a charter school advocate as his chief of staff - LA Times:

Newly elected L.A. Unified board member Nick Melvoin hires a charter school advocate as his chief of staff


Incoming Los Angeles school member Nick Melvoin, who benefited from millions of dollars in campaign support from charter school backers, has hired a senior official with a charter advocacy group as his chief of staff.
Sarah Angel, managing director of the L.A. region for the California Charter Schools Assn., will head Melvoin's office, Melvoin confirmed Wednesday.
Another member of Melvoin's staff will be Allison Holdorff Polhill, who worked briefly for the charter association last year before running unsuccessfully for District 4, the seat won by Melvoin. Holdorff Polhill was a longtime parent leader and board member at Palisades Charter High School. After she lost in the March primary, Holdorff Pohill endorsed Melvoin in his May runoff against two-term incumbent Steve Zimmer.
Melvoin takes office in July, representing the Westside and west San Fernando Valley after the most expensive school board contests in U.S. history. Charter school advocates spent $9.7 million on behalf of Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, who prevailed in District 6, the east Valley.
Both Melvoin and Gonez have stressed that they will be independent thinkers, regardless of their donor base.
L.A. Unified has been plagued by rising costs and dwindling enrollment, with increasing numbers of families opting for charter schools, which are publicly funded but can be privately run. Los Angeles has more charters than any other school district in the country. Their fast proliferation and role in L.A. are major sources of tension among some parents, teachers and board members.

“My goal is to mitigate charter growth by improving district schools,” Melvoin said in a May interview.
There is precedent for board members hiring key staffers associated with influential special interests.

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