Below in the Scribd window is yet another attack mailer sent to residents of Los Angeles by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), a lobbyist group that pushes for unfunded expansion of unregulated charter schools in the state. In the race for LAUSD District 3, the runoff is between incumbent Tamar Galatzan and the challenger Scott Schmerelson.
CCSA’s candidate is Galatzan, who was closely allied with failed superintendent John Deasy, currently being investigated for bid-rigging by the FBI and by the SEC for misuse of facilities bond funds. Galatzan favors charter schools and supported John Deasy’s iPad plan well past time it became clear that his signature initiative was poorly planned and implemented, had the air of being corrupt, and relied on improper sources of funding.
NOT TRUE: The misguided basis of CCSA’s allegations that Schmerelson is “executive director of an organization that lobbies in Sacramento for more funding and higher salaries for school bureaucrats” seems to be this memo dated August 2, 2014, where Schmerelson was elected executive director of region 16 of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). There are 19 regions in all representing school principals from all across California. He is NOT the President of ACSA, nor is he the Executive Director of ACSA as the mailer implies. Insofar as ACSA lobbies Sacramento, it does so to speak with one voice so lawmakers can know where education professionals stand on issues relating to the funding of public schools and school policy — from the perspective of people whose job it is to run public schools.
NOT TRUE: Scott Schmerelson is no more a “Sacramento lobbyist” than a parent who belongs to the California State PTA is a lobbyist — these are citizen-lobbyists who advocate for public schools due to their interests as stakeholders. The professional organization ACSA may retain paid lobbyists but that is not Scott Schmerelson. Ironically, the California Charter Schools Association is an organization much like ACSA, and the CCSA retains two lobbying firms in Sacramento to push for unfunded charter school expansion (spending $200,000 in 2013-2104 to influence legislators) and has made large dollar donations to Tamar Galatzan in the past and present school board races, so you could say they have a vested interest in influencing an LAUSD school board member who has the power to approve or deny new charter applications and renewals.
NOT TRUE: Salaries of school “bureaucrats” are ultimately determined by the locally-elected school board members who hire principals and decide salary and benefits packages, not Sacramento lawmakers.
Why the distortions aimed at Scott Schmerelson, a career educator and person who seems to have moderate views when it comes to school administration? Perhaps CCSA feels that their own candidate is tainted by association with Deasy, or perhaps they find Schmerelson’s decades serving students, parents, and career educators threatening. If anything, CCSA’s attack mailers make their candidate Galatzan look weak.
In any case, it’s surprising that these inaccuracies are allowed to stand by candidate Galatzan when previously she’s been called on to denounce CCSA attack mailers sent out on behalf of a slate of CCSA LAUSD school board candidates that also included her. With support from “friends” like mudslinging lobbyist group California Charter Schools Association, who needs enemies to drag you down into the mud?