Buoyed by more than $100,000 in outside spending on his behalf, educator Dadrius Lanus on Tuesday forced long-serving incumbent Vereta Lee into a Dec. 8 runoff in the District 2 race for the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.
Lanus narrowly missed winning outright, while the other candidate in the race, Joycelyn Hall, trailed in third place.
Lee, 60, has spent nearly four decades in education, most as a classroom teacher. She is currently supervisor of child welfare and attendance for City of Baker public schools.
Since she was elected to the parish School Board in 2007, she’s been an outspoken supporter of employee pay raises and critical of most charter school proposals.
Lanus and Hall are also educators and both have worked in charter schools.
All three are Democrats.
Lanus, 30, has received at least $100,000 in backing from outside groups. He organized alumni of Glen Oaks High School in an unsuccessful effort to derail a portion of a 1-cent sales tax that voters renewed by wide margins on April 28 in hopes of forcing a new tax plan that would direct more money to the flood-damaged high school. Lee criticized the move, saying it risked forcing school employees to take a big pay cut.
On the campaign trail, Lanus has relentlessly attacked Lee, saying she’s failed to focus enough on District 2’s four schools with "F" letter grades from the state.
Hall is a third-grade teacher at La Belle Aire Elementary. She raised only $55 and barely campaigned. She has attended a few debates, offering a teacher’s perspective on school issues.