Is LAUSD Superintendent Beutner Helping His Friend Profit From COVID-19?

A $50 million contract for COVID-19 testing awarded to a three-month-old company with political and financial ties to the head of the school district.

Carl J. Petersen
4 min readOct 10, 2020

My concern is there are labs out there that are not up to snuff because they don’t have that experience.

- Dr. Susan Butler-Wu

In order to eventually get students back in the classroom, school districts will have to institute testing programs to ensure that members of the school community infected with COVID-19 do not spread the virus. To gain the confidence of both parents and teachers, the implementation of this plan must be beyond reproach. Unfortunately, a report by KCBS/KCAL investigative reporter David Goldstein, calls into question the integrity of the program set up by Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner.

According to Goldstein, SummerBio had only been in business for three months when it was awarded the nearly $50 million contract with the LAUSD. While the company is licensed by the state, it has not yet received emergency use authorization from the FDA. Beutner made the selection “under emergency coronavirus powers” given to him by the LAUSD School Board at the onset of the crisis.

While the district says that SummerBIo “had the lowest price and fastest service”, Goldstein’s reporting also showed the company had political and economic ties to the Superintendent through its founder, Sky Dayton. From 2001 to 2003, Beutner had “served on the board of Dayton’s company, Earthlink”. Another business relationship existed through another Dayton company and Evercore, the venture capital company founded by Beutner that was also a controlling shareholder in the company that published the National Enquirer. Dayton was also a contributor to Beutner’s campaign when he ran for mayor in 2011.

From the SummerBio website

One of the actions that brought down John Deasy during the $1.3 iPad scandal was the fact that the former LAUSD Superintendent personally appeared in Apple promotional…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.