Breaking: Karen Bass Now Supports McKenna Appointment

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Karen BassIn a statement today, Congresswoman Karen Bass endorsed appointing George McKenna to be the caretaker for Marguerite LaMotte’s unexpired term:

“I still firmly believe that voters should and must have the ultimate voice in their representatives. However, having an empty seat at the school board at this time could leave too many children’s needs unmet.

“Fortunately, there is a middle ground. The district should appoint a strong community leader with years of education experience who will serve as a caretaker. They should look for someone who is independent and understands the intricacies of LA Unified and has intimate knowledge of the needs of students and the concerns of parents.

“Dr. George J. McKenna is a strong candidate to fill this seat during the interim, where he can bring his 50 years of education experience—most of those at LAUSD—to the Board. Dr. McKenna will be an advocate for funding equity, and his passion, wisdom and knowledge will be an invaluable asset to our students and our community.

“This path will allow voters to be able to participate in an informed and deliberate election in a year, where ultimately both voters’ voices will be heard and their children will have an advocate at the LAUSD Board.”

Congresswoman Bass’ initially supported a special election, but now supports appointing George McKenna. The Congresswoman’s evolution of position is not unique. Many of the leaders of Appoint McKenna first supported a special election, before we were explained the severe consequences to the our children’s education from having the seat remain vacant for 6 to 8 months. When we were presented with appointing Dr. McKenna as a caretaker, that was clearly the best option for the kids.

It is understandable that the initial reaction of people to any vacancy is for an special election, especially for African-Americans and women who had to fight and many die for the right to vote. However, in this particular instance a special election is more harmful than an appointment of a capable caretaker that the community trusts – George McKenna. Big decisions are going to be made by the LAUSD over the next few months and we must have representation. In a republic voting is not an end, but rather a means to having a seat at the table.

Congresswoman Bass is to be commended for having the political courage to evolve her position when provided with new information. It is what is right for the kids. Her full statement is below.

Los Angeles, CA – Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) released the following statement today on Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD’s) upcoming decision on how to fill the vacant seat following the passing of Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte:

“Filling the sudden vacancy left with Marguerite LaMotte’s passing is an unexpected and difficult process for the students and will have major implications for the community. Marguerite was a leader and a voice for Los Angeles. We honor her legacy as LAUSD is about to undergo important funding decisions that will have a long-term impact on the district.

“Over the next three months, LAUSD will be taking up both complex and important policy decisions that will determine how it will participate in a new state funding formula for our schools. These decisions will impact students—especially students from South Los Angeles—for years to come. Although I supported an election, it appears an election cannot be held in time for these important funding deadlines, and there is no way that District One cannot have a representative in these critical decisions.

“I still firmly believe that voters should and must have the ultimate voice in their representatives. However, having an empty seat at the school board at this time could leave too many children’s needs unmet.

“Fortunately, there is a middle ground. The district should appoint a strong community leader with years of education experience who will serve as a caretaker. They should look for someone who is independent and understands the intricacies of LA Unified and has intimate knowledge of the needs of students and the concerns of parents.

“Dr. George J. McKenna is a strong candidate to fill this seat during the interim, where he can bring his 50 years of education experience—most of those at LAUSD—to the Board. Dr. McKenna will be an advocate for funding equity, and his passion, wisdom and knowledge will be an invaluable asset to our students and our community.

“This path will allow voters to be able to participate in an informed and deliberate election in a year, where ultimately both voters’ voices will be heard and their children will have an advocate at the LAUSD Board.”

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