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‘Some competitive races’: Runoffs abound for Orleans Parish School Board seats

BY DELLA HASSELLE

NOV 7, 2020

With only two candidates elected outright to the Orleans Parish School Board during Tuesday’s election, and five races headed to a Dec. 5 runoff, experts agree there are too many missing pieces to analyze the next board’s makeup or its influence on future school district policy.

But while the full image remains fuzzy, one thing is clear: in the first election to be held since state-run charter schools in New Orleans were brought back under local control in 2018, a landslide of political newcomers drew enough support and funding to seriously challenge the five incumbents who sought to retain their posts, marking a distinct departure from School Board elections in years past.

John Brown Sr., who has held his District 1 seat since 2015, was the lone incumbent re-elected. Ethan Ashley, Leslie Ellison and Nolan Marshall were pushed into runoffs for their 2nd, 4th and 7th District seats. Grisela Jackson, who had been appointed earlier this year to replace Ken Kleban in the 5th District, was edged out of a runoff by two other candidates.

District 1, with Brown, and District 3, where newcomer Olin Parker was elected, were the only two races to draw just two candidates.

Educator Carlos Zervigon and college coach Erica Martinez are headed for a runoff in District 6, which did not have an incumbent.

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