A reader forwarded me this statement from Mitz Lee, who issued the letter to her supporters about her defeat in the San Diego Unified school board race. She attributed her loss to the negative ads aired by the teachers union:
Running against a torrent of negative campaign commercials in the campaigns final days made it all but impossible for Lee to win reelection to the position she has held for the last four years. Special interests groups that opposed her in 2004 again targeted her for defeat.
“I accept the will of the voters and want them to know that I will continue to look for ways to serve and to move the district forward; to ensure every school is a good school because every child counts,” said Lee. “We had many successes along the way and I am proud of the work I was able to do on behalf of the parents and children of our City.”
She cites as her accomplishments reducing class sizes in kindergarten through 3rd grade and 9th grade English class while more than 200 positions were cut from the central office, increasing teacher salaries without reducing health benefits, and protecting permanent teachers from layoffs. Lee originally voted to notify more than 900 teachers of potential layoffs, which were scaled back as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger restored funding to California schools. Roughly 200 probationary teachers were ultimately laid off, many of whom were later rehired.
“Educating our young people is an extremely important function and one that I have dedicated much of my professional career to, I pledge to the teachers and parents and children of San Diego that I will continue my efforts to make education the priority it must always be,” Lee concluded. “For me the campaign is over but the priority of educating our children continues.”
Lee was absent from Election Central on Tuesday night and was not happy when I woke her up with a late night phone call to talk about election returns. (Mea culpa. I would not have been happy about it either.) I’m trying to reach her to ask about her plans after the election and her future role in San Diego Unified.