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Is Kayser Pushing Deasy Out the Door?

Hillel Aron | July 19, 2013

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John Deasy, left, Bennett Kayser, right, at a Jerry Brown-led press conference in May

John Deasy, left, Bennett Kayser, right, at a Jerry Brown-led press conference in May

School Board member Bennett Kayer is asking Superintendent John Deasy, to draw up a “succession plan” for the superintendent and his senior staff.

“As the District mandates that every school have an emergency plan, so must our leadership and its structure,” Kayer says in a letter addressed to Deasy, a copy of which was obtained by LA School Report.

The letter (which can be download here) was apparently not sent to Deasy; he said he only learned of it when another LAUSD employee asked his secretary about it.

“I have to assume it was intended to come to me,” Deasy told LA School Report. “I don’t know how to interpret the contents of that. I look forward to finding out more when the Board meets.” He called the implications of the letter “unclear.”

A senior school board official said members routinely communicate with the superintendent on a spectrum of issues, but no individual can require the superintendent to act.

“The board acts as a body,” he said. “Not through an individual.”

When asked if the letter marked the beginning of the search to replace him, Deasy replied, “That could be part of the interpretation, but that could also be for the replacement of the 20 other senior members [of the Superintendent’s staff].” When asked how he felt about the prospect of searching for his own successor, which was not specifically requested in the letter, Deasy said, “That’s certainly not my prerogative or purview.”

Bennett Kayser’s chief of staff, Sarah Bradshaw, downplayed the letter, saying in an email that her boss was “not calling for any replacement,” but simply wanted to know “who will sub in if need be.” She called it a “minor, procedural matter.”

The seven-member School Board can, with a four-person vote, fire Deasy at any time. His $330,000-a-year contract, which was last renewed in October 2012 by a 6-0 vote, lasts for only a year, as do the contracts of most of his senior staff.

Deasy’s future has been the subject of much speculation lately. With the election of Board members Kayser, in 2011, and Monica Ratliff earlier this year, the ideology of the Board has been tilting away from him. The Board recently voted to replace president Monica Garcia with Richard Vladovic, who has said, according to multiple sources, that he wants Deasy gone. Vladovic has since denied this.

But Deasy may not be happy either. As the LA Times reported earlier this month, he had told various civic leaders that he would resign should Vladovic become the new president, a threat he hasn’t carried out.

When asked if he was searching for a new job, Deasy replied, “I’m way, way concerned with my current one.”

Previous posts: Unions Send Letter of Concern over Deasy CommentsVladovic Defeats Galatzan for Board PresidentDeasy Skirmish With Board Members a Long Time ComingBoard Members Ask Deasy To Explain HimselfDefiant Deasy Says He’ll Push Targeted Spending Plan Anyway

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