Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD

Sep 14, 2014 by

The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified’s $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.

In an interview, Deasy acknowledged that the continuing focus on the project, which aimed to give every student, teacher and campus administrator an iPad, has hampered his effectiveness and eroded his support on the board.

“I have thought about whether I have the ability to do what I need to do effectively. I think about it all the time,” Deasy said, adding that he no longer feels he and the board are “united on the same mission and in the same way to accomplish this mission as when we started.”

The school board appears to be dysfunctional. There is too much petty politics. There is too much micromanagement. – George Kieffer, chairman, Civic Alliance

The superintendent exposed the strain this week when he demanded emails between the board and technology companies, including those involved in the iPad program. Deasy requested the records to ferret out any potential ties. The superintendent is under scrutiny for precisely such connections between himself and those firms.

A highly critical report from a school board member, released last month, found that the bidding process may have had the appearance of favoritism toward Apple, which supplied the iPads, and Pearson, which provided the instructional software. Soon after, district emails were released that showed Deasy and former Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino had begun discussing a possible contract with Apple and Pearson two years before the bidding for the project began.

Deasy suspended future purchases under the contract and relaunched the bidding.

The district’s inspector general has begun a full investigation into the procurement process.

Deasy and Aquino have denied any impropriety.

via Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD – LA Times.

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