L.A. Now

Ratliff leads Sanchez for school board in early returns

The race for an open seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education was close in early returns between Monica Ratliff and Antonio Sanchez, with Ratliff holding a lead. 

The two candidates are vying for District 6, which stretches across the east San Fernando Valley, on the seven-member school board.

In the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees election, incumbent Nancy Pearlman was leading challenger David Vela, according to early returns.

All voters within the college district can cast ballots in this race, which covers a vast swath of L.A. County.

Sanchez, 31, is the heavy favorite in the L.A. school board race. He had the benefit of the combined clout of labor unions along with a deep-pocketed political-action committee spearheaded by outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which amassed more than $1 million on his behalf for the runoff.

Ratliff, a 43-year-old teacher, tried to make an issue of Sanchez’s big-money backers and relied on support from individual educators and newspaper endorsements.

The mayor’s group, called the Coalition for School Reform, threw its full support behind Sanchez mainly because of his unreserved enthusiasm for L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy.

Ratliff recently pledged to retain the superintendent as well, but she’d previously suggested he might need to be replaced.

The influential teachers union mainly stayed out of the east Valley race — endorsing both candidates but without providing financial support or volunteers.

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Twitter: @howardblume | howard.blume@latimes.com

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