Steve Zimmer

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Steve Zimmer
Steve Zimmer.PNG
Board Member, Los Angeles Unified School District, District 4
In office
July 1, 2009 – present
Term ends
June 30, 2013
Years in position 6
Elections and appointments
Last electionMarch 5, 2013
First electedMarch 3, 2009
Term limitsN/A
Place of birthManhattan, New York
Personal website
(dead link) Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Steve Zimmer is a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board representing District 4. He ran for and won re-election to his District 4 seat on the board in the March 5, 2013 elections.[1]


Zimmer is a former LAUSD teacher.[2] He has served on the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District since first winning election in 2009.

Zimmer began his educational career in 1992 with Teach for America. He created Marshall’s Public Service Program in 1995, requiring public service by every student, and founded Marshall’s Multilingual Teacher Career Academy in 1998.[3]



See also: Los Angeles Unified School District elections (2013)

Zimmer won re-election to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, representing District 4 in 2013. Zimmer defeated Kate Anderson in the primary election on March 5, 2013. (Write-in candidate Jeneen Robinson withdrew prior to the election.) Zimmer received over half the number of votes for his district, enough to avoid competing in a runoff election on May 21, 2013.[4]

Los Angeles Unified School District 4, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Kate Anderson 48.3% 38,063
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Zimmer Incumbent 51.7% 40,716
Total Votes 78,779
Source: Office of the City Clerk of Los Angeles These results are final.


A full list of endorsements was made available here (dead link).


Candidate Campaign contributions Personal funds Indpt. expenditures in support Indpt. expenditures opposed
Kate Anderson $250,925 $25,000 $1,139,324.67 $438,933.68
Steve Zimmer $82,406.50 $0 $618,493.59 $319,512.12
Jeneen Robinson (write-in) $26,284.43 $0 $0 $0
Campaign contributions and personal funds as reported through February 27, 2013 in the required filings with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. Independent expenditures were continually updated by the Commission. They were last updated here March 5, 2013. Source: Los Angeles City Ethics Commission[15]


By February 12, 2013, Zimmer had raised $31,000, with the L.A. County Federation of Labor spending $30,000 on his behalf, and SEIU Local 99 spending $73,000.[16]

Campaign literature

During the 2013 campaign, Zimmer registered seven pieces of campaign literature with the City of Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. The literature included two emails, two mailers, two flyers, and one telephone script.[17]

Among independent expenditure groups, political action committees affiliated with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 99, and United Teachers Los Angeles and the West Hollywood and Beverly Hills Democratic Clubs registered mailers, telephone scripts, flyers, and a TV ad script in support of Zimmer. The Coalition for School Reform registered mailers opposing Zimmer.[18]


Zimmer won election in the 2009 election to the District 4 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board. He defeated Mike Stryer in the March 3, 2009, general election.[19]

Los Angeles Unified School District, District 4, General Election, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Zimmer 56.7% 33,742
     Nonpartisan Mike Stryer 43.3% 25,811
Total Votes 59,553


Support of Superintendent Deasy

In February 2013, Zimmer said that he would vote to retain current Superintendent John Deasy, saying that the latter's continued tenure was a "critical issue" even as the two disagreed on implementing a teacher evaluation system.[20]

Public School Choice

In June 2009, Zimmer voted for Public School Choice, which allowed charters to bid for control of new LAUSD schools. Two years later, he defended his vote as a form of compromise in regards to "restarting schools," but said he regretted the program's application to new schools.[21]


Zimmer did not answer the five questions on issues prepared by the League of Women's Voters of Los Angeles in 2013.[22]

Arts for LA survey

Zimmer completed the 2013 candidate survey from Arts for LA, a group advocating greater investment in the arts. He asserted, "We need to have the courage to fight for the things in schooling that are real education. The arts is at the top of my list."[2]

DFER report card

The political action committee Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) issued a report card for Zimmer on February 14, 2013. Their grades were as follows:[23]

  • Parent Choice and Quality Schools - C
  • School District Transparency - A
  • District Leadership - B
  • Teacher Effectiveness and Quality - C

The full report card including explanations was made available here (dead link).

Candidate forum

On January 24, 2013, Zimmer and challenger Kate Anderson participated in a candidate forum, where they both gave statements and took questions.[24] The event was well-attended, with supporters on both sides present. A video of the entire event was posted on YouTube.[25] The LA School Report also wrote a text summary of the forum, which was made available via the LA School Report website.[26] Write-in candidate Jeneen Robinson was not invited to attend this forum.[27]

Open letter to Bloomberg

On February 14, 2013, Zimmer sent a critical open letter to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $1 million to the Coalition for School Reform, a pro-charter group which endorsed Zimmer's opponent, Kate Anderson. In the letter, Zimmer criticized Bloomberg for a lack of communication. Zimmer argued that he put students above interest groups:[28]

I’ve fought for parent choice, expanded charters, baccalaureate curriculums, language immersion schools, and reforms for students learning English (LAUSD has the largest number of English Learners of any district in the country). At the same time, I’ve demanded accountability to ensure we are prioritizing students’ needs instead of ideological agendas.

The full letter was posted here.

Loss of CSR support

In his 2009 campaign, unions and the Coalition for School Reform endorsed Zimmer. However, over the course of his term, he became viewed as more pro-union than pro-CSR, even though he did not fully back either group's agenda. The Jewish Journal published a 2011 profile of him and a 2013 article about the election campaign about Zimmer's experiences as a school board member.[29][30]

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  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named latimes
  2. 2.0 2.1 Arts for LA Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: LA Unified School Distrct
  3. Steve Zimmer 2013, " Biography," accessed February 23, 2013 (dead link)
  4. The Los Angeles Times, "LA Primary results," accessed March 6, 2013
  5. Daily News, "Administrators union issues endorsements in LAUSD election primary," January 18, 2013
  6. Steve Zimmer 2013, "LA Councilman Paul Koretz endorses Steve Zimmer," December 28, 2012 (dead link)
  7. Steve Zimmer 2013, "Democratic Party endorses Steve Zimmer for L.A. School Board," January 9, 2013 (dead link)
  8. Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, "March 2013 primary election Endorsements," accessed February 13, 2013
  9. Karen Jordan, LA School Report, "Zimmer Volunteers Focus on Reaching District 4 Voters," February 25, 2013
  10. Los Angeles Times, "LAUSD workers union endorses both school board incumbents," December 10, 2012
  11. SEIU 99, "More on our endorsed candidates for LAUSD and LACCD Boards," January 17, 2013
  12. Teamsters 572, "2013 candidate recommendations," accessed February 13, 2013
  13. United Teachers Los Angeles, "Political Endorsements – School Board Primary Election on March 5," accessed February 13, 2013
  14. Los Angeles Daily News, "LAUSD write-in candidate Jeneen Robinson ends campaign, endorses Steve Zimmer for District 4," accessed February 27, 2013
  15. Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, 2013 Municipal and LAUSD Election Disclosures
  16. LA Weekly, "Mayor Michael Bloomberg Pours $1 Million into LAUSD Elections to Oust Steve Zimmer, Elect Monica Garcia," February 12, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013
  17. LAUSD District 4 campaign literature, LA City Ethics Commission
  18. LAUSD District 4 independent expenditures related to Steve Zimmer, LA City Ethics Commission
  19. City of Los Angeles Primary Nominating & Consolidated Elections Official Election Results March 3, 2009, p. 4
  20. Los Angeles Daily News, "Los Angeles Unified school board election has nation's attention," February 17, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013
  21. Jewish Journal, "The Education of LAUSD’s Steve Zimmer," July 5, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2013
  22. Candidates' answers to questions from the League of Women Voters
  23. Democrats for Education Reform, "CA Report Cards: Monica Garcia and Steve Zimmer," February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013 (dead link)
  24. Los Angeles Daily News, "LAUSD board candidates to appear at forums," January 19, 2013
  25. California Participation Project, "Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Candidate Forums," accessed February 14, 2013
  26. LA School Report, "Westside Forum: Charters, Evaluation, Deasy," accessed January 25, 2013
  27. Argonaut, "Westchester: Write-in candidate blasts organizers of LAUSD school board forum," January 31, 2013
  28. Venice-MarVista Patch, "Open Letter to New York Mayor Bloomberg," February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013
  29. Jonah Lowenfeld, Jewish Journal, "School board race pits unions against billionaires," February 20, 2013
  30. Danielle Berrin, Jewish Journal, "The Education of LAUSD’s Steve Zimmer," July 5, 2011