Was the Public Deceived in the LAUSD Superintendent Search?
An LAUSD Board member provides information about the backroom meetings that led to the hiring of Austin Beutner.
- LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson
When the East Area Progressive Democrats filed a complaint with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office regarding alleged violations of California’s Brown Act, LAUSD Board member Scott Schmerelson’s Public Statement was used as Exhibit A. In releasing this document, Schmerelson exposed that the Board had taken a vote in closed session on April 20, but had not reported this action to the public as required by law. This violation was further compounded by the fact that the Board’s Executive Officer had announced that there were “no actions to report”, “creating a deception that misled the public and confused any accurate understanding of the genuine status of decision-making by the Board.”
Schmerelson has now provided additional information about the LAUSD Board’s actions leading up to the appointment of Austin Beutner as the new Superintendent. In a presentation before the Northridge East Neighborhood Council last Wednesday, he confirmed that a vote was taken on April 20. Additionally, he divulged that “certain Board members had this planned months ago.” Originally, he was told that “Beutner [was] going to work for one dollar.” However, the other Board members ignored their fiduciary duty to the students of the LAUSD and taxpayers by voting for a contract that pays him $350,000 annually.
In describing Beutner’s conversations with the Board prior to his being hired, Schmerelson states that “it was the worst interviews [that] I have ever seen in my entire life. Not one question was answered about education.” Every time Schmerelson “asked a question about education, [Beutner] couldn’t answer because he really didn’t know.” In selecting Beutner, the Board passed over Vivian Ekchian, whom Schmerelson described as a “wonderful, lifetime educator. Smart. Good heart. Considerate” and “an easy pick to be Superintendent.”