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1 minute later, LAUSD board resumes private talks on superintendent

Mike Szymanski | December 8, 2015

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superintendent search* UPDATED

The LA Unified school board continued its search for a new superintendent early this morning, moving into another closed session after a one minute open meeting that might have been the shortest in district history.

Joining the seven board members in the private session were Hank Gmitro and Darline Robles of the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.

With another meeting devoted to the search scheduled for Dec. 13, it seemed more apparent than not that the process might stretch into January. The board has been hoping to hire a replace for Ramon Cortines by the end of the year to accommodate’s his desire to step down by then.

In any case, one senior district official discounted the notion that the search could conclude during the winter break that starts after Dec. 18, saying, “Oh, no way, I doubt it.”

The search process, as outlined by Gmitro, includes a committee of the school board to visit the home districts that the top three candidates before making a final decision.

This past Sunday, the board began the interview phase on the 63rd floor of the U.S. Bank Tower downtown where they met with a handful of candidates who had been among nearly 100 who have applied for the job.

The board’s desire is to keep secret their identities to allow for a larger group of applicants, which president Steve Zimmer says is critical to the selection process.

The board’s focus on finding the new superintendent has grown so sharp that it has pushed other issues to the side.

Three agenda items included on the original schedule to today’s open meeting were postponed to the January meeting. One of them was Scott Schmerelson‘s resolution aimed at putting the board on record as opposing any “external” effort to create charter schools at the expense of the district, a measure aimed at Greater Schools Now and its charter expansion plan.

“I have decided to postpone the consideration of this resolution until January because of the importance of the Superintendent Search, which is the most important responsibility of the Board of Education,” Schmerelson said in a statement released by the district. “I am concerned that consideration of the resolution will distract our attention from this essential process.”

Meanwhile, about 50 people had lined up outside district headquarters this morning to show support for charter school renewals and seven new charter schools that are seeking board approval later in the day.

* Adds postponement of three agenda items.

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