Four open seats on the seven- member Los Angeles Unified school board have attracted 10 candidates, during a critical race that could expedite bold reforms, or stifle them completely.

The school board election scheduled for March 8 is expected to pit long-time educators against self proclaimed reformers, at a crossroads moment for the district.

On the one hand, the district has approved several bold changes, like the Public School Choice plan, that lets charter schools and other outsiders compete against LAUSD teachers and principals to run schools.

District officials have also begun overhauling LAUSD's teacher evaluation system and its hiring and firing policies, but much of that work remains in the planning stages.

"For the 2011 (school board) election, the conversation will be, do people want to support bold and optimistic reform or do people want to slow that down," said LAUSD board president Monica Garcia.

"Four votes are powerful on the school board."

In the San Fernando Valley, incumbent Tamar Galatzan, the mother of two LAUSD elementary school students