The Los Angeles Unified school board officially swore in its new and returning members Friday, but oath ceremonies quickly gave way to a power struggle as the board's president faced her first challenge in years.

Three former teachers, including new board member Bennett Kayser, tried to flex their muscle as a new pro-union minority bloc in a bid to wrest the presidency from Monica Garcia. She has held the post for four years with little challenge to her re-election and is seen as an ally of the "reform" community.

Member Marguerite LaMotte, who voiced strong opposition to the board's current leadership, nominated Steve Zimmer for the post. Ultimately, however, the three could not swing the additional vote they needed and Garcia was re-elected to a fifth term on a 4-3 vote.

LaMotte accused Garcia of being the vehicle for outside forces, like Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to exert power over school district business.

"I was personally hoping you would give someone else a chance... We are giving away schools, we have taken