The Los Angeles Board of Education is expected to announce today the resignation of schools Superintendent John Deasy and the appointment of an interim replacement — possibly former Superintendent Ramon Cortines or a Deasy deputy.
Deasy has already signed a separation agreement ending his employment by the Los Angeles Unified School District, the LA School Report, an online news site covering education, reported Wednesday, citing information from five district and school board sources. The announcement could be made as early as 10 a.m. today.
The 53-year-old Deasy has supporters and detractors. Supporters credit him for gains in test scores and graduation rates, improved results for students learning English, a reduction in student suspensions, the introduction of classroom breakfast programs to combat malnutrition, and his efforts to make the evaluations of teachers and principals more rigorous.
In a letter to board members last month, a group of civic leaders, including the president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff praised Deasy’s work.
“Superintendent Deasy is not perfect,” according to the letter. “But progress made in boosting the education of our children under his leadership outweighs the business decisions by which he is being judged.”
Deasy’s detractors have focussed on widespread problems with the rollout of a $1.3 billion program to provide iPads to every student, teacher and campus administrator. Another technology project, a new student records system, malfunctioned this fall. Critics also fault Deasy for a leadership style that they say has demoralized employees.
One of Deasy’s chief deputies, Michelle King, is expected be named as interim superintendent, according to the LA School Report. But the Los Angeles Times quoted a source as saying the board is likely to select former Superintendent Ramon Cortines to run the district on an interim basis.
Cortines retired as superintendent in April 2011 after a long career as a respected educator, but his exit was marred by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a current district employee. A proposed settlement later fell apart, The Times reported.
Cortines, 82, lives in the Pasadena area. If he takes the interim job, it would be his third stint as district leader.
The LAUSD board authorized its lawyers several weeks ago to begin negotiating a separation agreement with lawyers for Deasy. The final terms of the agreement were reached this week even though Deasy is in South Korea on a cultural visit, sources told LA School Report.
He is likely to receive a buyout of about 60 days pay, or roughly $60,000, The Times reported.
Deasy’s contract runs through June 2016 but provides for termination at any time with 30 days’ notice. The separation agreement ending his employment nullified the provision requiring 30 days notice, according to LA School Report.
Deasy, the superintendent since 2011, has come under increasing scrutiny from the teachers’ union and some board members. He has butted heads with board members and activists over the effort to provide all students and staff with iPads or laptops.
The situation escalated last month with allegations that Deasy and a former chief deputy had been involved in extensive discussions with Apple and education publisher Pearson at least two years before the bidding process ended and contracts were approved.
Although there were no allegations that the discussions actually gave the companies an upper hand in the bidding process, the release of emails and other correspondence raised questions about the superintendent’s relationship with the companies that stood to profit from the contracts. Deasy then canceled the existing contracts with Apple and Pearson and said the district would re-bid the program.
Deasy also has been the target of criticism over the troubled rollout of the district’s computerized student-information system known as MiSiS, or My Integrated Student Information System.