LA Unified Superintedent John Deasy has inserted himself into the growing debate over what to do with the school board seat left vacant after the sudden death of board member Marguerite LaMotte on December 5th.
Deasy sent a letter to twelve prominent African American leaders on Jan. 3, inviting them to join a District 1 advisory committee he’s created to give him “information, advice, and direction” until a board member is chosen.
Deasy wrote that, as an advisory committee, the group would fall outside of California Brown Act transparency requirement. He also said any members of the committee should not plan to run for the open school board seat.
“The letter is reprehensible,” Larry Aubry, co-chair of Black Community-Clergy and Labor Alliance. “He’s not the board, he’s not a policymaker.”
Aubry said many of the people who received the letters are connected in some way to L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, who’s pushing for a special election to fill the board seat.
Aubry is part of a group of African American leaders, which includes Congresswoman Maxine Waters, that wants long-time district administrator George McKenna to fill out LaMotte’s term until the district's scheduled 2015 election. They say it's critical for someone to be in place as soon as possible as the board is weighing budget and curriculum matters.
LaMotte’s team of about ten staffers continues to work on District 1 matters. The school board district includes neighborhoods in L.A.’s Crenshaw, Palms, and Koreatown neighborhoods.