School Trustee Pay Hike Bid Fails

Times Staff Writer

The City Council declined Tuesday to put a measure on the November ballot that would have opened the door to a pay raise for members of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s elected board but also imposed term limits and campaign finance restrictions.

The vote on the motion to put the proposal on the ballot was 6 to 7, two votes short of the eight required for passage.

The action comes as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing for state legislation that would give him some control over the school district and diminish the board’s powers.


Councilman Jose Huizar, the ballot measure’s chief proponent along with Councilman Alex Padilla, said the mayor’s office did not oppose his efforts.

Huizar, a former president of the school board, said the ballot measure would have complemented Villaraigosa’s proposal.

Because a majority of the council did not vote against it, the measure can be considered again today.

But it appears unlikely that Huizar can get the support he needs by Friday, the deadline for the council to put measures on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“I’m still going to try to put it on the November ballot,” Huizar said.

“But we’ll see what my colleagues say. I find it humorous that everyone talks about the urgency of reforming the school district, but this is not showing any urgency,” he said.

The measure would have restricted school board members to three four-year terms.

It also would have set $1,000 limits on individuals’ donations to candidates for the board.


Currently, there are no limits on how much a donor can contribute. In addition, the measure called for a committee to review board salaries.

Members currently receive $25,200 annually, which Huizar considers too low.

The measure stemmed from a commission created last year by Huizar and Padilla to review the governance of the Los Angeles school district.

The commission recently released a report with 54 recommendations, including the items he proposed ballot measure.

Other council members spoke against the ballot measure during the hour-plus debate.

“Do we need to do this right now? Is this properly vetted?” asked Councilman Herb Wesson. “Should we not wait to see what is going to happen with the mayor’s plan? Maybe after more discussion we can place this on a future ballot.”