Candidates seeking election to the Los Angeles school board in the April 11 election accused incumbents Roberta Weintraub and Julie Korenstein on Wednesday of failing to properly represent their San Fernando Valley constituents.
“I’m one of those parents who has lost faith in the system,” challenger Michael Kaliczak said at a candidate forum. “We need more normal people like me to run this district.”
Candidates Kaliczak and Dauna Packer, both parents and political newcomers, joined junior high school Principal Gerald Horowitz in criticizing Korenstein, who is seeking to retain her West Valley board seat. Barbara Romey and Cliff Stadig, also running against Korenstein, did not attend the forum sponsored by the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles.
Korenstein, who has spoken in favor of cutting administrative costs by as much as 10%, told the more than 200 school principals and vice principals at the forum that she would seek a fair resolution of the district’s budget shortfall.
Korenstein, who has pushed for teacher salary increases, said it would take about $80 million in budget cuts next year to pay for the district’s latest salary offer.
School board President Weintraub, who is seeking a fourth term, told the group that 90% of high school administrators in the district were men until 1980, when she pushed to promote women.
Weintraub’s challenger, Barry Pollock, said that he is running because of “the frustrations that parents feel.” Pollock, a physician who lives in Studio City, said gang violence and drug problems are growing because teachers and parents are failing to teach ethics and responsibility to students.
“I don’t represent teachers or their union, nor am I a district insider like Mrs. Weintraub, who has been glad-handing administrators for 10 years,” Pollock said.