Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012. Deasy earlier informed parents at a community meeting that the district was replacing the entire staff of Miramonte Elementary School in the wake of the arrests of two teachers on lewd conduct charges.
Faced with a shocking case of a teacher accused of playing classroom sex games with children for years at Miramonte Elementary, Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy delivered another jolt: He removed the school's entire staff — from custodians to the principal — to smash what he called a "culture of silence."
"It was a quick, responsible, responsive action to a heinous situation," he said. "We're not going to spend a long time debating student safety."
The controversial decision underscores the 51-year-old superintendent's shake-up of the lethargic bureaucracy at the nation's second-largest school district. His swift, bold moves have rankled some and won praise from others during his first year of leadership.
Hired with a mandate to boost achievement in the 660,000-pupil Los Angeles Unified School District, Deasy has become known for 18-hour days that involve everything from surprise classroom visits and picking up playground litter to lobbying city elite for donations and blasting Sacramento politicians over funding cuts.
Before the pledge, she got down on her hands and knees in front of the horseshoe and began a prayer to God — asking for forgiveness and asking for all in the room to repent for their sins.
That's how Inglewood Unified School Board vice president Trina Williams started the district's first meeting of the year, reports my KPCC colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.
The night apparently didn't get any less dramatic, as the board discussed the likelihood that it would run out of money in the next few months and be forced to declare bankruptcy. That would likely mean the state would strip the school board of its powers and take over the operations of the 12,000-student district.
Guzman-Lopez reported over KPCC's airwaves today:
"The district expects an $18 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year. The superintendent recommended taking out loans, freezing expenses and laying off employees. Inglewood schools have already dismissed 223 workers, mostly teachers, to cut the deficit. The teachers’ union president said a declaration of bankruptcy and a state takeover would stem the flow of red ink."