The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education was again unable Friday to select a new superintendent to lead the nation’s second-largest school district.

The board met for hours Friday but announced shortly after 7 p.m. that it would be reconvening at 11 a.m. May 1 to resume the discussion. The board had also met for hours Tuesday and was unable to agree on a successor to Michelle King, who went on medical leave in September and announced in January that she had cancer and would not return to the job.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that the search appeared to have been narrowed to four candidates, including interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. Also on the list were investment banker and one-time Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner and former Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso.

The fourth finalist, Indianapolis schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee, withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday.

According to The Times, the 58-year-old Beutner, also a former Los Angeles deputy mayor under Antonio Villaraigosa, appears to have the inside track on the job.

The district faces rising pension costs, underfunded retiree health benefits and union pressure to raise salaries, all while declining enrollment is draining financial resources, The Times reported.

Members of the union representing thousands of LAUSD cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other support employees have already authorized a strike if a contract agreement cannot be reached. District officials said they are already working on contingency plans to prevent disruptions to campus activities if a strike is called.

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