“We will work out a fair and equitable process for any of these teachers who want to transfer to another school, so that this is not a punishment,” he said. Brewer emphasized that the district, which hires 2,600 teachers a year, has great capacity to allow teachers to transfer to other positions. The school trustees have to approve the final contract with the partnership, and they will decide whether they feel the mayor has the capacity to move forward with three high schools – as opposed to the original two proposed, said Marshall Tuck, education adviser to the mayor. Los Angeles Unified School District officials said a second round of voting will take place in the spring to include elementary schools in the mayor’s family of schools. Duffy said the plan promotes an idea that the union backs – less-centralized control and greater autonomy at school sites. “It’s historic in its possibilities, in what it can bring in the future,” he said. “Someone said you may not need a school board in the future. Maybe not.” The voting results were widely seen as a gain for Villaraigosa, even though it fell far short of his original goal to oversee all Los Angeles Unified schools. “(Even though) he came up with something … badly short of a larger slice of control, (it) has to be considered a political coup of sorts,” said Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “It’s a victory for the mayor and now he’s going to have to show something … but will there be measurable improvements at his schools in the coming year or two?” Still, the election process raised questions among critics who said a relatively small number of parents and teachers voted. The district said it determined support based on 50percent, plus one, of certificated staffers in the UTLA bargaining unit votes and 50percent plus one of parent or legal guardian votes. Those who participated did not have to be registered voters. At Roosevelt High, which has 4,654 students, just 545 parent votes were cast. Of those, 441 voted in support of the mayor, which the district calculated as 80.7percent support. At Jordan High, only 51 of 115 certificated staff members voted in support of the mayor. Regalado said the turnout is a sign of the times. In the past 25 years, most people don’t vote even when the stakes are high. “When the issues are well understood and well defined, it’s so surprising that a small turnout like this resulted,” he said. “But what it really means is that the mayor’s team and those who supported the reforms really got out the vote.” Villaraigosa had launched an aggressive campaign reaching out to teachers and community groups to gain support for his reform plan. The nonprofit partnership paid the more than $200,000 in outreach efforts through grants. The district, which paid for fliers and automated phone calls the day before the election, did not have its share of the costs available. Officials touted the reform effort as “historic,” emphasizing that school districts had never given stakeholders like parents and teachers a choice on large policy decisions. The partnership is one Brewer’s major contributions through his newly developed innovation division, through which he hopes to implement nontraditional reform efforts, gauge the success, and replicate best practices throughout schools in the beleaguered LAUSD. Each school in the mayor’s family would develop its own set of targets, and if it fails to meet them in five years would return to the traditional district structure. Schools will create governing site councils whose members are selected by peers and who will be responsible for key decisions on teaching and learning, hiring, budgeting, fundraising and scheduling. School principals would report to a newly hired family-of-schools leader, although it has not yet been determined whether they would be LAUSD employees or employees of the partnership. “I’m excited because we’re going to have an opportunity to decide who’s going to work at our school, what types of teaching and learning is going to take place, what types of services and resources our students are going to get,” Gompers seventh-grade teacher Kirti Baranwal said. The mayor emphasized after the news conference that the real story is that immigrants, blacks, Latinos and “people who have been denied a real voice in their schools are finally going to have a voice.” Markham parent Jose Gallegos already feels the change. “A lot of parents are feeling included … Before, you didn’t have that sense of help,” he said. Jonathan Wilcox, adjunct professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, said the victory is a symbolic one for the mayor. “Given the way his 2007 has gone, I’d say any good news is a political coup for the mayor,” said Wilcox, a speechwriter for former Gov. Pete Wilson. “He began the year as the favorite to win election as next governor of California, and now he’s desperately trying to win a campaign in Los Angeles middle and high schools.” But Villaraigosa avoided any implication that he needed the victory, emphasizing that he never saw his past efforts, including the now-defunct legislation that would have given him a role in the district, as defeats. “I don’t need redemption. The mayor and the Legislature voted for (the Assembly bill), and the judiciary voted it down. It wasn’t a personal defeat for me,” Villaraigosa said. “I am focused on this effort. I could have easily left this a long time ago and said I tried, and after I lost the court decision I could have walked away, but I didn’t do that, so this is a good day.” For the latest school news, go to www.insidesocal.com/education.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Marking a major political coup, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa won his bid to manage seven Los Angeles Unified schools as a majority of parents and teachers voted to partner on education reform, according to results released Wednesday. The hard-won victory culminated several failed attempts by the mayor over the past two years to assume a role in the district and capped an aggressive weeks-long campaign to win support for his plan. Villaraigosa’s nonprofit Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is set to begin managing the schools in the 2008-09 school year, promising campuses greater resources and control over budget and curriculum. “Today, we can truly say that the votes are in and the status quo is out,” he said. “Close to 90percent of the parents of these communities said … yes to lower dropout rates, yes to higher student achievement and yes to safer campuses. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“I grew up in these neighborhoods. I know these neighborhoods. I know that parents in these neighborhoods have the same right to have a quality education for their kids as any neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles.” The schools voting to join the partnership are Jordan, Roosevelt and Santee highs, and four middle schools – Hollenbeck, Stevenson, Markham and Gompers. About 86percent of 1,800 parents and 69percent of 797 teachers voted to support the mayor’s plan. “When you look at the percent of yes votes from the parents, it’s a clear mandate, and as far as I’m concerned, the faculties are also sending a clear message that they want change,” Superintendent David Brewer III said. “Today we’re unleashing the power of L.A. to transform the schools in L.A.” Out of nearly 800 teacher votes, 250 opposed the plan, and United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy said the union will work diligently to reassign those who do not want to work in a partnership school.