By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1Fr9kAJ
Posted: 11/25/14, 7:25 PM PST | Updated: 11/26.14 :: Before leaving Los Angeles Unified School District, former Superintendent John Deasy racked up credit card charges on more than 30 business trips, including visits to East Coast cities and dinner at a swanky steakhouse, according to media reports.
Deasy, who stepped down last month under scrutiny over technology blunders affecting classes for thousands of students, traveled more than 100,000 miles last year, visiting New York and Washington. D.C., five times each, according to an analysis of travel records by KPCC.
While a family-run philanthropic organization, the Wasserman Foundation, will pick up most of the charges, Supt. Ramon Cortines suspended travel last month after learning his predecessor and 25 high-level administrators traveled to Milwaukee for the Council of Great City Schools’ fall conference.
“I can’t imagine in good conscious how you could leave when Rome is burning,” Cortines said when he suspended all travel for the district.
Deasy’s Milwaukee trip occurred as Los Angeles Unified was scrambling to fix problems caused by Deasy’s decision to launch a new record-keeping system, MiSiS, before it was ready.
Transcripts, reports cards, attendance and other crucial records were crippled by the faulty system, which still needs to be fixed as the district gets ready for the start of a new semester. Students were stranded in auditoriums and the wrong classes at the start of the school year when the program failed to correctly enroll and schedule pupils.
Deasy did not return calls for comment on Tuesday. He remains on the district’s payroll, under “special assignment,” because the school board secretively struck a deal for his departure on Oct. 14.
Deasy’s expenses will be mostly or entirely paid for by the Wasserman Foundation. According to tax filings, the organization donated $1 million to the district and $875,000 to the LAUSD Educational Foundation in 2012.
The Wasserman Foundation did not return requests for comment.
Deasy charged the cost of flights, hotel rooms, meals and ground transportation for visits to Aspen, Austin, Birmingham and Boston, among other locations, KPCC reported.
In August 2013, Deasy booked tickets to Washington, D.C., New York, Pittsburgh and Albuquerque. His restaurant bills totaled $630 for the month, including a $250 charge at Fleming’s Steakhouse.