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Los Angeles Superintendent John Deasy Reportedly to Step Down

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy, under fire recently for his handling of an iPad program and whose hard-charging leadership style has alienated many in the school district during his nearly four-year term, is expected to announce Thursday morning that he is stepping down, according to L.A.-area media reports. 

Deasy is expected to make his announcement at 10 a.m. PST, the Los Angeles Times' Howard Blume reported.  Citing a source familiar with the negotiations, Blume wrote that Deasy had reached a settlement with the school board. 

Thumbnail image for Deasy_280.jpg

The news came nearly two weeks after the paper reported that the majority of the seven-member board had authorized the board's attorney to draw up departure papers even though Deasy's evaluation was scheduled for next week. 

The separation agreement is likely to include 60 days' pay, according to the Times, or around $60,000. Deasy's contract, which was set to expire in June 2016, calls for a 30-day severance.

LA School Report wrote that Deasy had already submitted his resignation and signed a separation agreement.

Deasy's three-and-a-half-year superintendency was marked by an increase in graduation rates, higher tests scores, improved outcomes for English-language learners, and tougher evaluations for principals and students.  He retained strong support in the civic and business communities. 

His detractors chafed at his leadership style, saying that it had demoralized teachers and staff. The teachers' union—United Teachers Los Angeles—called for Deasy to leave in September. 

Critics have latched on to his plan to implement a $1.3 billion districtwide digital device program—putting an iPad or similar device into the hands of every student in the district—that was plagued with problems since the rollout last year when students were able to disable the district's content-filtering software.  More recently, allegations of cozy relationships between the superintendent, senior district staff, and Apple and Pearson have surfaced.

A newly implemented records management system also caused scheduling problems that resulted in hundreds of students at Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles being assigned to classes they had already taken or forced to sit in an auditorium without any scheduled class. ( A state judge last week ordered the district and the state immediately to fix the problem.) 

There are conflicting reports over who is likely to step in as interim superintendent. LA School Report reports it will be Michelle King, a deputy superintendent under Deasy, but the Los Angeles Times reports that Deasy would most likely be succeeded by Ramon Cortines, who departed in 2011 amid a sexual harassment complaint. If Cortines returns, it would be his third stint at the helm of nation's second largest district.


Photo: Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy explains the need to transform Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles starting in the following academic year, after the board approved a drastic overhaul during a board meeting in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2013. --Damian Dovarganes/AP-File

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