“That may be a possibility for an opportunity for not only the mayor but for other people who have great proposals to propose something to the district and have us take it on as a pilot,” Canter said. “I think it’s important that we clean the slate … We both know that we’re better off together than we are apart. I feel very strongly that today is a new day and that today we will begin the walk together to create the kind of partnerships that I know we can so that all kids succeed.” Partnership Villaraigosa said at a Wednesday morning news conference that he hopes to get a cluster of schools to oversee and – regardless of the results of the May runoff – wants to partner with the district. “I think the school board and I are clear that a partnership is inevitable. We’ve got to figure out what it looks like,” he said. “I fully expect a tough campaign … Regardless of that, you’re going to see my effort and I think an effort on their part to work together.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Unified School District officials heralded a new era of collaboration Wednesday, even as they braced for a bruising and costly school board runoff in just eight weeks. With a measured primary win by the mayor in his bid to gain influence on the school board, both sides quickly began finessing collaboration with aggressive pushes for their own candidates to prevail in May. And in a post-election nod to the mayor, LAUSD school board President Marlene Canter said the board is now considering offering Villaraigosa his own long-sought cluster of low-performing schools to oversee. Canter said the move comes after Villaraigosa offered a pre-election “olive branch” to school board members in private phone calls. And she said she hopes to begin discussions with the board soon on an “innovation district” developed with Superintendent David Brewer III. Canter said Villaraigosa called several board members Tuesday and struck a collaborative tone. “He said, `Consider this an olive branch,’ and he said `I want to meet with you and I want to start fresh,”‘ Canter said. “I said I’ve been waiting for this since the day I became president and I’m there any time that you want to meet so I’m looking forward to starting the conversation again and working together.” Brewer echoed Canter’s openness for collaboration and said that even if the mayor gets his slate elected to the board, he doesn’t believe it will be divisive. “I think there’s going to be collaboration. With or without (legislation), it does not matter to this superintendent. I get along with the mayor, I get along with the board,” Brewer said. “I just look forward to working with whomever the people of Los Angeles elect.” Mayor’s slate did well The cooperative comments come after an election campaign in which 11 candidates raised more than $4 million vying for four seats on the school board. While the mayor’s slate fared well, it was far from a resounding victory. Yolie Flores Aguilar captured the District 5 seat, but his other two candidates – Richard Vladovic and Tamar Galatzan – are headed for runoffs. And with incumbent Marguerite LaMotte’s victory over charter leader Johnathan Williams – considered an ally of the mayor’s – Villaraigosa now needs Vladovic to win the South Gate seat and Galatzan to prevail over incumbent Jon Lauritzen for the San Fernando Valley seat if he is to secure a majority of four votes on the school board. Although he said he is looking forward to a new partnership with the district, Villaraigosa will continue to aggressively support Galatzan – a campaign into which his Partnership for Community Excellence committee poured more than $1.13 million. Galatzan captured 44 percent of the vote and Lauritzen 40 percent in an election that drew less than 10 percent of the city’s voters. Louis Pugliese, who said Wednesday that he has not yet decided which of the two candidates he’ll support, got 16 percent of the vote. Lauritzen has called Pugliese, and Mike Trujillo, Galatzan’s campaign manager, said they look forward to meeting with him. In the South Gate race for District 7, the mayoral-backed candidate, Vladovic, won 46 percent of the vote, while opponent Neal Kleiner got 33 percent. UTLA might endorse Former California Teachers Association employee Jesus Escandon got 22 percent of the vote, and said Wednesday that he would encourage his supporters to vote for Kleiner. United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy said it’s possible that union membership might decide to endorse a candidate in that runoff. “I think everybody is tired of this struggle and from my perspective, everybody now understands … that a partnership is really what needs to happen,” he said. But even as Villaraigosa struck a collaborative tone Wednesday, some said it could be an effort to hedge his bets because legislation that would give him partial control over the LAUSD is stalled in court and the May election results remain uncertain. Meanwhile, the school board may have realized that Villaraigosa is not giving up, and a partnership makes the best political sense for both. “The school board doesn’t want to look like obstructionists … and there’s a recognition that you can’t go back to the politics of before-Antonio,” said Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “They can’t hide from the fact that there’s a new sheriff in town and he is going to continue to be a force to be reckoned with, no matter what. And the mayor wants something out of this and he wants the best deal he can cut.” naush.boghossian @dailynews.com (818) 713-3722 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!