Local high school students will lead and moderate a candidate forum for Los Angeles Unified School Board District’s (LAUSD) Board District 6 on Wednesday, March 1, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at L.A. Mission College, Campus Center-Main (13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar). Organized by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, LA Youth Vote and Cal State L.A.’s Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs, the community forum will provide a voice for students who are often left out of key decisions. Students will moderate the session, and have developed the questions and format for the event.
More than 200 local residents are expected to attend the event to learn about candidates historically elected by less than nine percent of registered voters. This LAUSD race is important because the district’s seven-member board oversees an $8.4 billion annual budget for more than half a million students in 785 schools. The decisions made by board members impact the LAUSD student population, of which 80% lives in poverty. Less than half of district students complete the high school A-G coursework graduation requirement, and only 50% are able to apply to a four-year university. For many students living in high-need areas, access to a quality education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty.
“In the past two forums we’ve held, students from United Way of Greater Los Angeles’s Young Civic Leaders program have done a great job in leading the discussions and asking key questions of LAUSD board candidates – not just on stage as moderators of the forums, but also as audience participants. United Way is committed to engaging our communities in issues that have a direct impact on their well being. It has been great seeing our young leaders make their voices heard,” said Elmer Roldán, director of Education Programs and Policy at United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “These forums are proving that  students have great interest in their education and are using their collective voices to advocate for themselves.”
The candidate forum in BD6 will provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to learn about the LAUSD school board candidates and their perspectives for solving the many challenges faced by the second largest school district in the country. The forum will also offer a College Readiness Fair from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., resources for undocumented students and families, voter registration, scholarship opportunities and more.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is committed to creating education pathways that help children and their families break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, and equipping communities with the tools necessary to succeed in school. The LAUSD candidate forums and recently launched Parent Engagement Toolkit are part of a series of efforts over the course of 15 years that have sought to support students so that they can become college and career ready. These efforts also offer opportunities to engage the broader public and key stakeholder communities in the education of our children.