Villaraigosa Helped Broker Deal to Keep Deasy Superintendent
Jamie Alter Lynton | October 30, 2013
LA School Report has learned the deal to extend the contract of LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy might not have been possible without the involvement of former LA mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
According to three people with knowledge of events, none of whom would speak for attribution, Villaraigosa made a flurry of calls to both Deasy and Board President Richard Vladovic to help broker a deal. The calls continued through yesterday, just before the board went into a closed-door session that ended with the announcement that Deasy’s contract would extend to mid-2016.
Meanwhile, Villaraigosa’s successor, Eric Garcetti told reporters today that he had spoken to all the parties and discussed the matter with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said on Monday he believed Deasy and the board should continue to work together.
Garcetti said he had also spoken to “almost all the board members” in an effort to help Deasy remain in his job. He said he told Deasy he supported him and would “do everything I can” to help resolve the situation.
“I was hopeful he’d stay,” Garcetti said.
But it was the former mayor, who has deep ties with both Deasy and Vladovic and made education a hallmark of his years in office, who pushed harder for a resolution, two of the sources said. Villaraigosa helped elect Vladovic when he first ran for school board in 2007 against teachers union-backed opponents. He was also instrumental in Deasy’s rise to superintendent’s in 2011.
In anticipation of yesterday’s meeting in which the board also discussed Deasy’s evaluation, sources said that Villaraigosa, among other things, sought to learn how board members regarded his performance and whether Vladovic, who has moved from supporting Deasy’s policies to challenging them, could find a way to work with him.
Villaraigosa also spent time talking with Deasy about his frustrations with the a school board majority that has shifted this year from embracing Deasy’s vision to favoring policies more closely aligned with the teachers union.
Another source who spoke to both Deasy and Vladovic over the weekend told LA School Report that, ‘Dr. V needs Dr. D right now; he wanted him to stay.”
The possibility of a deal began to emerge on Monday, three days after reports began circulating that Deasy had offered to resign. By yesterday morning, still hours before the meeting, Deasy and Vladovic had agreed in principle that he would stay on, according to one of the sources.
When reached by phone last night, Villaraigosa declined to comment, and efforts to reach Vladovic and Deasy today for comment were unsuccessful.
Vanessa Romo and Michael Janofsky contributed to this story