January 6, 2001
Latina School Board Member Calls It Quits
Victoria Castro, the only Latina school board member in a district that is 70 percent Latino, announced today that she will not seek a third term.
"After eight good years serving this community, it is time to move forward with other ways to serve the educational needs of the children of Los Angeles," the second most senior member of the board said outside Los Angeles Unified School District Headquarters.
"I feel confident that my work with the district has moved us toward improving student achievement."
Castro's retirement will create an open seat during the upcoming school board elections in April. Members Julie Korenstein and Valerie Fields are running for re-election.
"It has been a genuine pleasure for me to work with Vickie Castro toward improving the quality of education that our children receive," said LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer. "She is deeply committed to making tough decisions that will lead to the kind of outcomes the students deserve."
The Los Angeles native and 25-year educator was a student, teacher and administrator at LAUSD before winning election to the school board in 1993.
She represents the Second District, including the communities of Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon, Boyle Heights, Chinatown, Echo Park, Filipino Town, Little Tokyo, the Pico/Union area and other portions of downtown Los Angeles.
Castro joined the LAUSD in 1974 as a mathematics teacher and was principal of Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles from 1986 to 1993.
School board member David Tokofsky said yesterday that he suspects Castro's retirement is "all about the issue of the upcoming mayor's coalition to change the school board."
Tokofsky said Mayor Richard Riordan reportedly planned to oppose Castro and Korenstein in the second phase of his campaign to reshape the board.
Riordan, who has no formal involvement with the LAUSD in his role as mayor but may take a job with the district after his term ends, previously funded the successful election campaigns of several board members, including President Genethia Hayes.
In deference to her constituents, Castro has always wanted to salvage the Belmont Learning Complex, which Eastside parents were promised years ago as a replacement campus for the current Belmont High, which is dilapidated and overcrowded.
Last month, the board voted 4-3 to consider a salvaging plan but also retained the option of selling the property outright, which Castro and others concede is the most likely outcome.
Source: KABC News - Los Angeles