By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/12Rjcmm
- ONLINE: To view the July 19, 2013 letter from Bennett Kayser to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy regarding the district's succession plan, click HERE
7/19/2013 9:35:37 PM PDT } Updated: 7/19/2013 9:44:38 PM PDT :: The one-page letter from Kayser said he wants Deasy to submit a succession plan for himself and his senior staff that details "immediate, short- and long-term succession plans delineating timelines, positions and personnel."
He also wants the plan to address potential impacts on contracts and action plans and to identify any "risks" that might affect the district.
He wants the board to review a draft succession plan by the start of school or soon thereafter. The next board meeting is Aug. 20, a week after classes resume
Kayser said the letter was merely procedural, and not an indication that he wants Deasy replaced. He issued a statement characterizing his request as "a minor governance and risk management matter."
"I simply want to know who the person is that is designated to step into the superintendent's shoes when he is out of town, as he was this week, and who he has trained and expects to step in were to unexpected to happen."
Although the letter was addressed to Deasy, the superintendent said he didn't receive a copy and learned about Kayser's request from his staff, a dozen of whom were cc'd as recipients.
"I'm looking forward to meeting with the board to discuss this," he said. "I'm unsure who is directing this, and I need to understand and to determine the priority of this plan compared with the other directives that the board has issued."Deasy also said he always designates which of his deputies is in charge before leaving town. Senior Deputy Superintendent Michelle King was his designee during this week's trip to Washington, D.C, to meet with federal education officials.
While Kayser downplayed the rationale for a succession request, the timing raised questions from other board members.
"I am not entirely clear what Mr. Kayser is asking for in his letter," said board member Tamar Galatzan, who represents the West San Fernando Valley. "Is this a way that Mr. Kayser and his allies are signaling their intent to fire the superintendent and his senior staff and stifle progress and reform efforts in the district?"
Kayser is a longtime supporter of United Teachers Los Angeles, which is at odds with Deasy over reforms including performance evaluations, employee raises and school staffing. Kayser is also a political ally of Richard Vladovic, the South Bay representative who recently was elected board president.
Vladovic and Deasy have an antagonistic relationship, which has insiders questioning the superintendent's future at the helm of the district.
Vladovic was on vacation Friday and could not be reached for comment. Board member Marguerite Poindexter Lamotte said through a spokeswoman that she was unaware of the Kayser letter although she was also cc'd as a recipient. Former board President Monica Garcia did not return phone calls. Member Monica Ratliff had no comment on the letter, but said she wants Deasy to stay and continue working on the district's new curriculum standards and graduation requirements.
Board member Steve Zimmer said he wants to keep Kayser's request for a succession plan separate from the politics that are rattling the district.
"There are those of us who believe we should have a substantive discussion and strategy and plan about what our processes should be," he said. "This has nothing to do with John Deasy at all. The professional and the person are totally different.
"I refuse to be part of the issues right now that are about the person, but I am absolutely ready to be part of all kinds of conversations about the process."