Los Angeles Unified School District President Monica Garcia and Vice-President Yolie Flores are backing California State Senator Gloria Romero in her bid to become the next state superintendent of public instruction.

Romero, a hard-charging reformer from Los Angeles who is not endorsed by the powerful California Teachers Association, would be the first Latina to hold that position.

Romero faces a tough battle against the CTA-backed candidate, state Assemblyman Tom Torlakson of Contra Costa County. Retired superintendent Larry Aceves, who received a Los Angeles Times endorsement, and several other people are also running for state superintendent.

In past elections, CTA, with its deep pockets and 325,000 union members, has been an effective kingmaker, but this year Romero is strongly challenging their power position in the education establishment.

On Tuesday, June 8, voters will chose the top two candidates, who will then face each other in a run-off in November.

The winner will head the California Department of Education and set policy affecting more than 9,000 schools and 7 million children.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly