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School races report funds

Times Staff Writer

The biggest confirmed-money “candidate” so far in the March school board elections won’t even be on the ballot. Three-term incumbent David Tokofsky has more than $222,000 in his campaign fund, dwarfing all other candidates for the moment -- but he decided late last year not to run again.

An actual candidate, challenger Johnathan Williams, estimated Thursday that he had $300,000 in the bank, but his campaign had yet to file its report with the city.

Ultimately, big money is expected to flow into the election from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the teachers union, charter school boosters and district contractors, but these funds have only begun to surface.

Thursday marked the first reporting deadline of 2007 for the school board race, a period covering Jan. 1 through Jan. 20.

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District 5 trustee Tokofsky said he had no plans yet for the surplus.

One candidate running to succeed him, Yolie Flores Aguilar, executive director of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, has raised more than $29,000 and reports in-kind contributions of $21,031. The latter come from a panel controlled by Villaraigosa, who is trying to put allies on the school board.

She is opposed by teacher and former city charter commissioner Bennett Kayser, who has raised about $2,000.

In District 1, Williams, who runs a charter school, said additional pledges would boost his war chest to $500,000. He declined to name donors but is supported by charter school backers and allies of the mayor.

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His opponent, South Los Angeles incumbent Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, reported contributions totaling $13,554 for the period -- $12,000 of which came from the union for school district administrators. In coming weeks, the teachers union is expected to donate enough to keep that contest competitive.

In the west San Fernando Valley, Villaraigosa has endorsed prosecutor Tamar Galatzan, and her campaign has reported $27,081 in noncash assistance from the mayor. The campaign’s total for the 20-day period is $38,119. The other big money player in District 3 will be United Teachers Los Angeles, which backs incumbent Jon M. Lauritzen. The city had no information on the Lauritzen campaign by the close of business Thursday; the deadline required a postmark of Jan. 25. A third candidate, teacher Louis Pugliese, is funding his campaign thus far with a $12,000 personal loan.

Incumbent Mike Lansing is retiring in District 7. Neither the mayor nor UTLA has endorsed in that race. Retired school district administrator Richard Vladovic reported $12,450 in donations. Retired principal Neal Kleiner raised $10,445, and union organizer Jesus Escandon said he has raised about $1,500.

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howard.blume@latimes.com

Times staff writer Joel Rubin contributed to this report.


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