Los Angeles Board to Review Deasy After Mounting Concerns

The Los Angeles Unified School District board is meeting to discuss its review of Superintendent John Deasy, raising questions about his leadership and future with the district.

Deasy has come under increasing scrutiny by the teachers association and some of the board members over his $1 billion deal that would provide an iPad for every student.

Last month, the situation intensified when Deasy was accused of having a relationship with Apple and education publisher Pearson for at least two years prior to the time the bidding process ended and contracts with the two companies had been approved.

When this information was released, Deasy cancelled the contracts with the two companies and re-opened the bidding process.

A separate review of the program revealed technological issues that did not allow the devices to be used in classrooms.  Also, $1.6 million worth of the iPads went missing due to a lack of inventory control.

“We believe those issues and others need to be taken into consideration as the school board holds him accountable in his performance review,” United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said.

Deasy has also come under fire over the rollout of My Integrated Student Information System, MISIS, that would digitize student information.  The program saw a number of problems that caused educators to work overtime fixing bugs in the software.

In a letter to the school board, leaders of area nonprofits and the district’s 33,000-member Service Employees International Union Local 99 requested the meeting to be conducted in a public setting, stating that “real and honest change doesn’t happen behind closed doors.”

“We are concerned that the exciting student achievement gains we have seen in recent years will be undermined by political conflicts and instability of leadership,” according to the letter that was signed by the leaders of eight organizations, including the United Way of Los Angeles, InnerCity Struggle, Community Coalition and Educators 4 Excellence.

Members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union plan on wearing red to the meeting “as a show of unity with parents, students and the community as we demand the schools LA students deserve.”

The meeting will focus on criteria to be used in Deasy’s upcoming employment review, scheduled for October 21.  While Deasy’s contract runs through 2016, the board can vote to remove him sooner.

Union leaders will also meet with representatives from Deasy’s administration next week over a pay raise for teachers totaling about $280 million.

Union members believe teachers are due a pay raise of 17.6% after going 7 years without one.  In that time, teachers had agreed to take furlough days amounting to an 8% pay decrease, while at the same time seeing the cost of living rise by 20%.

Deasy has said that the demands would bankrupt the district, which has offered a 6.64% pay raise over two years and a 2% bonus.

Deasy earned $393,106 last year.