Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

John Deasy resigned Wednesday as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, according to an online news site covering education.

Deasy signed a separation agreement ending his employment, the LA School Report reported, citing information from five district and school board sources with knowledge of the situation all of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issues and legal restrictions against discussing a private matter.

The resignation could be announced as early as tomorrow morning. It is also expected that one of Deasy’s chief deputies, Michelle King, will be named as interim superintendent, according to the LA School Report.

Deasy is likely to receive a buyout of about 60 days pay, the Los Angeles Times reported. He is expected to alert senior staff at 7:30 a.m. Thursday of his resignation, with board members expected to speak at 10 a.m., according to The Times.

The LAUSD board authorized its lawyers several weeks ago to begin negotiating a separation agreement with lawyers for Deasy. The final terms of the agreement were reached in the last day or so, when Deasy was in South Korea on a cultural visit, sources told LA School Report.

Deasy’s contract calls for an annual evaluation before the end of October. His contract runs through June 2016. A favorable evaluation would result in an automatic one-year extension. The pact also provides for termination at any time with 30 days’ notice.

The separation agreement ending his employment nullified the provision requiring 30 days notice for Deasy to be terminated, according to LA School Report.

There was no immediate response to a telephone message left after the close of business hours seeking a response to the report of Deasy’s resignation.

Deasy, the superintendent since 2011, has come under increasing scrutiny from the teachers’ union and some board members. He has butted heads with board members and activists over the district’s ambitious $1 billion effort to provide all of its students and staff with iPads or laptops.

The situation escalated last month with allegations that Deasy and a former chief deputy had been involved in extensive discussions with Apple and education publisher Pearson at least two years before the bidding process ended and contracts were approved.

Although there were no allegations that the discussions actually gave the companies an upper hand in the bidding process, the release of emails and other correspondence raised questions about the superintendent’s relationship with the companies that stood to profit from the contracts.

In light of the questions, Deasy canceled the existing contracts with Apple and Pearson and said the district would re-bid the program.

Deasy, 53, has also been the target of criticism over the troubled rollout of the district’s computerized student-information system known as MiSiS, or My Integrated Student Information System.

His supporters have credited Deasy for gains in test scores, graduation rates and improved results for students learning English.

In a letter to board members last month, a group of civic leaders including the president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, praised the work Deasy has done leading the district.

“Superintendent Deasy is not perfect,” according to the group’s letter. “But progress made in boosting the education of our children under his leadership outweighs the business decisions by which he is being judged.

“If the board remains unfocused, we run the risk of losing the student achievement gains we have made during a short period of time. We have a responsibility to work together and bring the focus back to improving academic achievement and fostering student learning.”

However, the teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has been highly critical of Deasy. The union is locked in contract negotiations with the district.

“We believe that John Deasy is responsible for causing serious problems in this district, from the iPad scandal — where there appears to have been bid-rigging — to the MiSiS crisis, which created a computer system, a student information system, that ended up hurting our most vulnerable students,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said.

City News Service

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