The LA Podcast
< LAUSD Board of Education

Scott Schmerelson

3rd District

Up for Reelection: 2020

Name: Scott Mark Schmerelson

DOB: July 25, 1951 

Took Office: 2015

Who does he represent?
District 3 is basically the Valley west of the 405, with District 4 stealing Woodland Hills from the south and District 6 poking across the highway to take Lake Balboa in a way that seems pretty rude. The district covers Northridge, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, West Hills, Canoga Park, etc.

Where’s he from?
Schmerelson started his career in Philadelphia as a Spanish teacher. We’re not sure where he was born or grew up.

How did he get here?
Schmerelson is more than a guy whose name begins with four consonants: he worked as both an educator and school administrator in LAUSD for 32 years, starting as a teacher at Virgil Middle School and moving up to principal at Lawrence Middle in Chatsworth and Cochran Middle in Mid-City. He retired and went for a school board seat in 2015, using financial support from the teachers union to defeat two-term incumbent Tamar Galatzan despite being outraised and out-endorsed.

What does he care about?
Schmerelson has gone very, very hard at Superintendent Austin Beutner from the moment Beutner got the job. He released a statement condemning the board’s vote to pick Beutner as “by the slimmest majority possible,” and told a neighborhood council meeting in Northridge that every time he asked Beutner an education question during his interview, Beutner “couldn’t answer because he really didn’t know.” This got Schmerelson an investigation from the DA’s office for revealing information from confidential meetings, but Schmerelson hasn’t let up: during the teacher’s strike, Schmerelson put out a statement openly siding with the teachers against Beutner.  

Schmerelson is not a believer in budget cuts: he was the only board member to vote against a 2019 budget that laid off 61 employees “at the same time as we add highly paid executive staff,” in his words.

He’s a union guy. The teachers union got him into office, and Schmerelson has returned the favor by being one of the most consistent votes on the board for teacher interests.

Why are we talking about him?
Schmerelson gets in the paper for sniping at Superintendent Beutner and griping about budget cuts, but he’s not a career politician and is unlikely to parlay his board seat into another office. But he does have to defend his seat in the 2020 general election.