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LAUSD Board calls closed-door meeting to discuss Deasy

Jamie Alter Lynton | September 24, 2014

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John Deasy

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy

The LA Unified school board has scheduled a last-minute closed-door meeting next week to discuss its top employee, superintendent John Deasy. Sources tell LA School Report that the meeting was called to give the seven school board members a chance to discuss what criteria they would like to include in the superintendent’s upcoming annual performance review, scheduled for Oct. 21.

The closed session, as well as a “special” open meeting were added to the board schedule late yesterday — the closed session reportedly at the request of board member Monica Ratliff, one of Deasy’s more vocal critics. Both meetings are set for September 30, starting at 4 pm.

According to people familiar with the closed session agenda, board members will have the opportunity to discuss what they consider fair game for Deasy’s annual performance evaluation. Under no circumstances, said one of the sources, would a vote be held to determine Deasy’s employment. According to that source, Deasy has the right to attend, but because it is not his official performance review, he isn’t required to.

When reached by LA School Report, the superintendent declined to comment. School board members did not return messages seeking comment.

While the board is bound by no legal requirements to cite any reason for dismissing Deasy — he is essentially an at-will employee whose contract with the district allows the board to fire him at any time — his contract has the unusual stipulation made at his behest that requires the board to evaluate his performance annually based on broad goals, such as graduation rates, student proficiency, attendance, parent engagement and school safety.

To renew his tenure, four of the seven board members must find his performance  “satisfactory.”

Three sources who discussed the newly schedule meeting with LA School Report said at this juncture there are not enough votes to fire Deasy, who was hired in 2011 to take over from Ramon Cortines under a friendlier school board.

But that, of course, could change.. Despite academic gains and lower dropout rates districtwide under Deasy’s leadership, he has also generated widespread criticism for any number of issues, including fallout for the iPad program, the continuing problems with the student-tracking system known as MiSiS and his strong-willed leadership style.

How much those factors and others, the good and the bad, should count in a review will be determined in the closed session — and likely divide the members between those who would keep him and those who would vote him out.

Previous Posts: What’s next *if* Deasy is out? Speculation abounds; Deasy on his critics: Constant attacks are ‘politically motivated’; Teachers union changes tactics, urges board to ‘evaluate’ Deasy*

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