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Ballots to be cast in two education races

May 17, 2011 |  6:00 am

Voters will cast ballots for candidates vying for seats on the city's elementary and community college boards Tuesday.

The runoff for the Los Angeles Board of Education seat is between Bennett Kayser, a retired teacher backed by both the teachers and the administrators unions, and Luis Sanchez, the current chief of staff to the board president. Sanchez is supported by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several other labor groups and elected officials.

The race marks the only time this election cycle that candidates backed by the teachers union and the mayor have directly faced off against each other. 

Sanchez captured about 1,500 more votes than Kayser in the March primary but did not have the necessary majority of votes to avoid a runoff. The other seats on the seven-member board have already been filled.  

Scott Svonkin, a senior advisor to L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, and Lydia Gutierrez, a Long Beach teacher, are competing for the seat on the Los Angeles Community College District board. Svonkin finished with more than twice as many votes as Gutierrez in the primary but did not capture the majority. 

Svonkin and Gutierrez have sparred over how to reform the community colleges' construction program and traded barbs over mailers. A campaign mailer for Svonkin claimed that Gutierrez was a "Sarah Palin-style tea partier"; she denied supporting Palin or receiving funding from the tea party.

-- Jason Song