The Los Angeles Unified School District remained without a new superintendent today, despite more than 10 hours of meetings by the Los Angeles Board of Education.
The school board announced after its meeting at around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday that it would reconvene Friday.
The list of potential candidates for the job, however, shrank by one name Wednesday, when Indianapolis schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee withdrew his name from consideration.
“Recently, I was announced as one of the finalists for the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent position,” Ferebee said in a statement reported by The Indianapolis Star. “After further discussing this endeavor with my family, the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners and those handling the search process, I have withdrawn my name from consideration.
It was an honor to have been considered for an opportunity of this magnitude.”
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier that Ferebee was one of four finalists being considered, along with investment banker and one-time Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, interim LAUSD Superintendent Vivian Ekchian and former Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso.
Beutner, 58, appeared to have the inside track, according to The Times. According to The Times, the lack of a decision from the LAUSD board thus far could mean that no candidate had a majority of votes or that the board was still trying for more than a slim 4-3 majority. It could also indicate that a decision has been made but important details of the employment contract remain under negotiation. Another possibility is that the board could be trying to bring in a team of leaders with different skills, possibly choosing more than one person to run the district from among a larger pool of candidates, according to the newspaper.
L.A. Unified faces rising pension costs, underfunded retiree health benefits and union pressure to raise salaries, all while declining enrollment is draining financial resources, The Times reported.
The district has been without a permanent superintendent since September, when Michelle King went on medical leave. King announced in January that she had cancer and would not return to the job.