Scott Svonkin, San Gabriel Unified School District Board member, describes himself as the “only one who cares about the teachers.” He is running for a seat on the vastly more powerful Los Angeles Community College Board and will face Lydia Gutierrez in a runoff election on May 17.

Last night, many teachers attended the San Gabriel Board meeting in order to voice concern and share ideas regarding the devastating budget crisis that is affecting education statewide. Svonkin's official reason for not showing? He was “sick.” As reported by Joe Barrett of Mayor Sam, Svonkin found it in himself to, instead, attend a union L.A. Democratic Party event that took place at the very same hour.

Svonkin says that he wants San Gabriel teachers to “fight” for their jobs amid necessary lay-offs. He says he will “fight” with them. He is heavily criticized for grandstanding on this and other issues.

Last night, at the San Gabriel Unified Board meeting, teachers dressed in red to symbolize their concern over teacher lay-offs and the budget crisis. They discussed concerns and brought up ideas such as voluntarily taking 10 furlough days in order to help more fellow teachers avoid lay-offs.

The rest of the San Gabriel Board, Denise Menchaca, Matt Stadtler, Colleen Doan and Phil Hu were all in attendance to hear them.

Svonkin was at a United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Union L.A. Democratic Party event that took place at United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Union headquarters, campaigning for the Community College Board instead of hearing the woes of the teachers at his own district, where he has already been elected.

When confronted at the UTLA L.A. Democratic Party event by Miki Jackson and John Walsh of HollywoodHighlands blog, and asked why he told the San Gabriel Board that he was too ill to attend, Svonkin had this to say: “I am sick! Do you want a note from my doctor?” And quickly left the event.

Svonkin is known for regularly collecting his San Gabriel Board stipend money even when he does not attend meetings due to “personal” issues. Other board members waive their stipend when they cannot attend. Wonder if he was planning on collecting his 100 bucks for last night if he weren't caught at UTLA?

Read more on Svonkin and his deeper personality problem in the L.A. Weekly story Scott Svonkin's Personality Problem.

Contact Mars Melnicoff at / follow @marsmelnicoff

LA Weekly