News & Politics

LAUSD Spends $250K on National Superintendent Search Only to Hire In-House

Los Angeles Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Michelle King smiles as she presented as the district's next superintendent by members of the board of education during a news conference in Los Angeles Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. King attended LA Unified schools as a child and later rose through the district's ranks, most recently serving as chief deputy superintendent. She will be the first African American woman to serve as the district's superintendent, making her the first woman in more than 80 years to lead the nation's second largest school district. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Money needlessly spent.

Yesterday evening, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted unanimously to hire longtime district teacher, principal and administrator Michelle King to become the district’s next superintendent.

One would think that the nation’s second largest school district wouldn’t have to drop a quarter of a million dollars to go begging for a superintendent, but then one wouldn’t be familiar with the miserable pit of failure that is the LAUSD.

King’s selection comes after the district spent nearly $250,000 on a national search for a candidate to replace then interim superintendent, Ramon C. Cortines. No one wanted the job. A Miami superintendent denied LAUSD’s offer, as did a school’s chief from Montgomery County, Maryland who apparently called LAUSD “a total mess,” according to the L.A. Times.

Cortines, who had already served two terms as district superintendent, assumed the role after past superintendent John Deasy resigned in October of 2014. Deasy quit amidst controversy surrounding his pricey choice to give every LAUSD student an iPad, as well as significant problems with the district’s then new MiSiS scheduling and student information system.

When school started in 2014, thousands of students across the district ended up spending weeks sitting in school auditoriums, killing time while the district attempted to resolve scheduling issues with its new computer system. Deasy resigned before the issue was fully resolved.

By the way, former Superintendent Deasy got a raise while he was busy doing things to get himself fired.

This district will probably be better served by a superintendent from within, so King’s hiring itself is more than likely the best they could have done under these circumstances, and may very well turn out to be a very good one.

The way this district needlessly tosses around hundreds of thousands of dollars is particularly galling in light of the fact that they are perpetually whining about not having enough money to adequately serve their students. As is almost always the case in American public education these days, there is money there, it’s just not getting to the classrooms.