L.A. Schools’ Superintendent Attempts a Coup

Carl J. Petersen
4 min readFeb 21, 2019

The secrecy has got to stop.”

- LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson

In a clear case of insubordination, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner has ignored a request for copies of contracts that the District had signed for four months. On at least one occasion, Beutner publicly promised to turn over these “confidential contracts” to Board Member Scott Schmerelson but did not do so until last week. “The consultants’ work was not disclosed”.

To make matters worse, it appears that information about the contracts, which “total $3 million so far”, was selectively released to other Board Members. Schmerelson noted at yesterday’s Board meeting that he is “sure that certain offices receive more information than others”, which eliminates any notion that the information was somehow unavailable. The lack of disclosure was willful and a clear attempt to keep information away from an elected Board Member who is, by definition, Beutner’s boss. In the private sector, this would be a fireable offense. It should be no different in the public sector.

In discussing Schmerelson’s “Reimagining Open Government Based on Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight” resolution, no direct reason was given for lack of candor by the Superintendent. However, Board President Monica Garcia did complain in passing about the past handling of “sensitive information” by some Board members. This may be a reference to Schmerelson’s public recounting of what happened behind the scenes when Beutner was hired last spring. Apparently, Garcia is not a fan of transparency or accountability as she was the only vote against the resolution.

The contracts cover consulting work done in conjunction with Beutner’s plans to “reimagine” the District, a project that will affect every LAUSD student. The Superintendent clearly wants to make sure that the public, or certain Board Members, do not have a say in the crafting of this proposal. Instead, an…

Carl J. Petersen

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