More than two weeks after the election, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education candidate Maria Brenes conceded defeat Wednesday in her tightly contested race for the District 2 seat being vacated by MÃ³nica GarcÃa.
Brenes’ opponent, RocÃo Rivas, declared victory late last week as her lead expanded. The latest returns show Rivas with 52.5% of the vote and a roughly 5,000-vote lead.
“There is much work to be done, and I am ready to bring my very best to all constituents — teachers, students, parents, neighbors,” Rivas said in a statement last week. “You can count on me to serve our district with unwavering dedication. Every day I will strive to nurture, sustain and protect our local, community public schools and the future of public education in Los Angeles.”
Rivas was serving as a policy deputy for LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg. She said during her campaign that she supports a re-examination of school campus safety, police presence on campuses and patrol tactics. She also said she will work to reverse underfunding of public schools due to policies such as Prop 13. She also said she wants to apply “common-sense standards of transparency, equity and accountability to charter schools.”
Brenes is the founder of the InnerCity Struggle advocacy group. In a social media post Wednesday, she thanked her supporters and “my small but mighty team who all powered my campaign.”
“We did not win this election, but we gave it our all and our education equity movement is even stronger because of the historic coalition and campaign we built,” she wrote. “For nearly 30 years, I’ve been fighting for equitable schools, and my fight will continue long after this election. Congrats to RocÃo Rivas. I look forward to working with all our school board members to ensure the voices of Eastside families and students are heard.”
Rivas had the backing of the powerful United Teachers Los Angeles teachers union, while Brenes has been backed by some major charter school supporters. The issue of charter schools has long affected contributions to LAUSD board candidates, with charter backers working to obtain and maintain support from a majority of the seven-member panel.
GarcÃa, who is termed out, has been the District 2 representative since 2006 and served as the board president from 2007-13. The district includes areas including downtown, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park and Montecito Heights.
LAUSD Board President Kelly Gonez declared victory in her tight race for the District 6 seat against high school teacher Marvin Rodriguez. As of Tuesday, Gonez had a roughly 2,500-vote lead, with 51.3% of the vote.
District 6 includes areas such as Sun Valley, San Fernando, Mission Hills, Panorama City and North Hollywood.
Gonez, a former teacher, has served on the board since 2017 and touted her work to improve educational resources in historically underserved areas and investing in early childhood education and ethnic studies.