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Teachers Back Escarce for School Board

By Lookout Staff

July 31 – Calling it “their top priority in the upcoming fall election,” local school teachers are throwing their weight behind incumbent School Board member Jose Escarce’s bid for a third term, the Classroom Teachers Association announced Wednesday.

It is the first time an incumbent has earned “Friendly Incumbent” status from the powerful group, which represents classroom teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other local educators, group officials said.

“The re-election of Jose Escarce is critical to the future success of the district,” Grant Elementary teacher Jenny Lipson said in a statement.

“For the past eight years, Jose has been a thoughtful, and effective member of the Board of Education,” Lipson said. “His institutional knowledge is invaluable and essential during this time of transition within the district”

The teachers union had endorsed Escarce, who is a physician and researcher at RAND, in his two successful bids for School Board in 2000 and 2004.

Escarce, who is one of seven candidates -- three of them incumbents -- who has pulled papers to run for four open seats on the City Council, will seek the endorsement of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) at the powerful tenant group’s convention Sunday. He has won the group’s nod in his two previous bids.

Escarce said he was “thrilled to earn the teachers union’s backing.“I have enormous respect and admiration for the work they do,” Escarce said.

“I think everyone in our community realizes that our teachers' talents, commitment to quality instruction, and dedication to our students are the main factors responsible for the substantial gains in academic achievement in our district over the past eight years."

Sarah Braff, a teacher at Will Rogers, praised Escarce’s work on the board.

“Jose understands that victories occur in the classroom and the key to student success is the ability to attract and retain high quality teachers,” Braff said. “We are proud to endorse Dr. Escarce and call him a friend of students and teachers.”

The teachers union will actively participate in Escarce’s campaign, union officials said.

“We are prepared to do what is necessary to ensure the re-election of Jose,” said Harry Keiley, the association’s president. “He is an articulate and knowledgeable advocate for children, teachers and our district. We are proud to support him.”

As of Thursday afternoon, seven potential candidates had pulled papers to run for School Board.

In addition to Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez also is seeking a third four-year terms, while Ralph Mechur, who was appointed to the board to fill a vacated seat, will seek to stay on for another two years.

Hoping to make their first School Board bid are Judith Meister, a former City employee and parent leader, Chris Bley and Ben Allen. R. Brian Hutchings, a frequent speaker at City Council meetings, pulled papers this week to run for Mechur’s seat.

In the race for three open seats on the College Board, Heidi Hoeck this week became the first potential challenger to pull papers. All three incumbents -- Margaret Q. Quiñónez-Pérez, Susan Aminoff and Rob Rader -- have pulled papers.


“The re-election of Jose Escarce is critical to the future success of the district.” Jenny Lipson



“We are prepared to do what is necessary to ensure the re-election of Jose.” Harry Keiley


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