INGLEWOOD — Local voters elected three newcomers April 7 to Inglewood school board Seats 1 and 5, while Seat 4 may need to be decided in a runoff.
According to unofficial voting results, Margaret Richards-Bowers and D’artagnan Scorza were voted onto the board in Seats 1 and 5, respectively.
Margaret Evans may have to face a runoff, since she received only 47.2 percent of the vote.
Melody Ngaue-Tuuholoaki was unopposed for Seat 3.
“We need at least 50 percent plus one to win without the possibility of a runoff,” Evans said. Provisional ballots still need to be counted. We are claiming victory.”
Mayor James T. Butts congratulated the winners.
“This is a critical juncture in the history of the district,” Butts said. “I offer my assistance to each of them as they assume office.”
The three incumbents Rene Talbott, Graciela Patino and Henry Brown, were appointed to their seats by state trustee Don Brann on Jan. 15, to serve until the election determined the new members.
After securing a win for Seat 1, Richards-Bowers said, “I am honored that the voters of the Inglewood Unified School District elected me to represent them on Seat 1. I am an advocate for public education that provides the best opportunities for all of our students to succeed and, as a board member, I will echo the concerns and aspirations of our community.
“There is much work to be done to ensure that our children achieve and are prepared to compete in a global economy. To accomplish this, we must all play a role. This is our new beginning and a course we will chart together.”
Richards-Bowers received 61.8 percent of the vote to defeat Dionne Young Faulk.
With a Seat 5 win, Scorza said, “It’s a new day in Inglewood. I look forward to working with the state trustee and my fellow board members to improve our schools so every child can get a great education.”
Scorza received 60.5 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Brown.
Evans would face incumbent Patino in the runoff for Seat 4, unless the tabulation of provisional ballots puts her over the 50 percent mark.
Patino received 23.1 percent of the vote, followed by Darius Leevy with 19 percent of the vote and Rene Talbott with 10.7 percent of the vote.
Evans said she was a virtual unknown who had never campaigned for office before.
“Everybody was saying we need someone with an education background. We need an educator on this board,” she said. “My campaign manager even told me that two years ago there was a person who ran for the school board and won just because she was a teacher. She did not even campaign.
“That is what people want. They want someone who can connect their children to leadership. I’ve come from L.A. Unified for all these 34 years. So I know what a good school looks like. I retired from a good school. Why should children have to go out of the neighborhood just to get a good education?”
The Inglewood Unified School District was placed into receivership by the state and bailed out of near bankruptcy in September 2012.
Under state receivership, school board members serve only in an advisory capacity and have no authority to set district policy or hire and fire district administrative staff.
As state trustee, Brann is responsible for administering the school district.
The district is projecting to cut its deficit to $1 million by next school year.