Leslie Ellison

This candidate declined an interview.

Walter Umrani

walter-umraniDistrict 4 candidate Walter Umrani, a 29-year employee with Chevron and an organizer with New Orleans Peacekeepers, which works to reduce violence in New Orleans through one-on-one conflict resolution and mediation, says he decided to run for the District 4 seat after getting requests and encouragement to do so.

“When the people ask you, it’s because they know you are truthful and will stand for the people,” Umrani says. “I couldn’t say no.”

Umrani adds that when his children were in school, he was a strong advocate for public education, organizing and leading parent teaching organizations. If elected, he says his focus will be on ending the school to prison pipeline, increased collaboration with the parents, community and school.

“People are wiser today. That’s something we need to respect,” Umrani says. “When we talk about the unification plan as it is in its present form, from what I understand, I am running for a public office and when you go to the polls you will see my name or my opponent’s, you will vote. But according to Act 91 the charters still maintain their autonomy, their programs, their budgets, they set their own curriculum. That’s the way it goes. The public has no say-so in how they operate. Your vote really means nothing. I have to stand against it because I am a man of principle. I am asking you for your vote, yet I have no voice over your taxpaying dollars. Somewhere somebody has to say this is unconstitutional and be man enough to stand on it. That’s why the people asked me to run. They know Bro. Walter is going to call it like it is . . . It’s unconstitutional. I’m not stuttering.”

Umrani says he wants to see a return to neighborhood schools—all with quality academic programs.

“With this present system, people are bussing their children all over the city,” but that’s not the answer. The answer is developing the neighborhood schools. You have to have a neighborhood school where the principal, teachers and administrators know where the children live.”

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