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Furutani Won’t Seek Reelection to School Board

TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

Warren Furutani--the first Asian American elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board--announced Wednesday that he will not run for reelection this spring, becoming the second board member to decide to step down when the current term ends.

Furutani blamed the low pay--$2,000 a month, plus a district car--and the long hours involved in administering the affairs of the 640,000-student district for his decision. “I have two young sons . . . and the more than full-time work with the part-time pay has created a bit of financial havoc on my family,” he said.

“We just can’t afford to subsidize it anymore,” he said. “I wish I could stay.”

A product of Los Angeles city schools, Furutani has represented the southeast portion of the sprawling district since 1987. He served as board president in 1991.

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When his term ends, Furutani said he will do more of the consulting work that he now does on the side, including advising officials on the extension of the Red Line train through Little Tokyo.

Board member Leticia Quezada announced last month that she would not seek a third term. Board President Mark Slavkin is facing a recall attempt by proponents of Proposition 187. Two other board members--Jeff Horton and Barbara Boudreaux--are expected to run for reelection this spring.

In announcing his intention not to seek reelection, Furutani broke with the board majority and expressed support for an effort by the city of Carson to secede from the Los Angeles district and establish its own school system. He said the children of Carson would be better served by a smaller, locally managed district.

He also endorsed George Kiriyama, principal of Gardena Adult School, to replace him in the district, which includes Watts, Wilmington, Harbor City and San Pedro. Kiriyama is expected to announce his candidacy Friday.

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