After a couple of days of backstage political drama, the LAUSD's reform-minded top educator, John Deasy, agreed with the school board that he will continue to run the school district into June 2016. At some point in the discussions that culminated in a closed-door evaluation Tuesday by the elected board, Deasy reportedly proposed to resign and be retained temporarily as a paid consultant. From Howard Blume and friends at the LA Times:
Instead, L.A. Unified will retain stable leadership as it wrestles with major budget decisions, a shift to new academic standards and a $1-billion iPad project, among other challenges.
But the outcome drew contrasting reactions from those who see Deasy as a courageous crusader willing to take on special interests on behalf of students and critics who view him as an arrogant autocrat wedded to an education agenda pushed by well-heeled business interests.
"I am thrilled," Elise Buik, president of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, said of the board decision to extend Deasy's contract. "I think [board members] heard from the community what is at stake. Maybe this is a new way forward."
But the favorable reviews were not universal.
"It is unbelievable that the Board of Education has given John Deasy a 'satisfactory' evaluation and rewarded him by extending his contract," said United Teachers Los Angeles President Warren Fletcher. "It's a sad day when political maneuvering trumps the needs of students and schools."
Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement saying that "I am pleased with the board's decision, but progress in the district will depend on all parties making our students the priority. I am committed to accountability at the district, a voice for teachers and parents, and working with Superintendent Deasy and the board to get our children career and college ready."
Barbara Jones in the Daily News:
The move was a stunning end to five days of speculation and uncertainty over the controversial district leader’s fate. Deasy, who has clashed with new board members and a new president that were elected earlier this year, had told some members on Thursday he was planning to resign as head of the nation’s second-largest school district. He had also proposed a buyout deal under which he would step down in February, then continue to be paid to work as a consultant until his contract expired 16 months later.
“I thank the board very much for a good and robust evaluation,” Deasy said after the decision. “I particularly thank you for a really excellent and honest conversation on building the (rapport) to work together so that we can continue to lift youth out of poverty. I’m very proud, as you all were, of what we have done for students and what we’re going to continue to do for students, and I look forward to us as a team continuing to advocate on behalf of the students of this amazing city, and I thank each of my board members very much and look forward to that.”
The board’s decision to extend his contract through 2016 was announced by General Counsel David Holmquist. It was unclear whether the entire board had signed off on the evaluation, and Holmquist refused to say whether a vote had been taken or how members had voted.
Board President Richard Vladovic, who in particular has butted heads with Deasy, did not discuss details of the closed-door discussion.
“This has been a journey for all of us, and we’re focused on the children,” Vladovic said. “We are moving forward.”
Annie Gilbertson and Adolfo Guzman-Lopez at the KPCC website:
The board gave John Deasy a satisfactory approval – an annual condition of extending his contract. Board staff would not say how many voted in favor or how many against.
"I thank the board for a good and robust evaluation, and I particularly thank you for a really excellent and honest conversation, building the rapport to work together to continue to lift students out of poverty," Deasy said to the few members of the public and reporters still waiting at 6:30 p.m. "I look forward to us as a team continuing to advocate on behalf of students in this amazing city."