LA Unified superintendent is open to a buy out of his contract

For a week since school board members signaled they wanted him out of the job, David Brewer's defended his achievements as Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Yesterday at an L.A. Unified headquarters press conference, Brewer came closest to saying he wants out of the appointed position. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was there; he brings us this report.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Former L.A. Unified interim superintendent and the man David Brewer hired this year as his instruction deputy, Ray Cortines, introduced the superintendent.

Ray Cortines: He is not resigning and he will take no questions.

Guzman-Lopez: L.A. Unified board members, administrators, parents, and reporters filled the school district's board room. Brewer outlined his climb up the military ladder, said he set high goals upon taking the superintendent post, and highlighted rising test scores in the 700,000 student district. He characterized the board members' efforts to remove him before his four-year contract's up as an "adult agenda."

David Brewer: As an African-American I have experienced my share of discrimination. When I joined the Navy as an officer 37 years ago, there were only 250 African-American officers out of 72,000. I know what it looks like, smells like, and the consequences.

Guzman-Lopez: Brewer did not accuse board president Monica Garcia, the reported leader of the attempt to oust him, of discrimination. He did suggest he's had enough.

Brewer: I am asking the Los Angeles school board to shield our students from this contentious debate and honor the buyout provisions of my contract. Regardless of the board's decision I will continue to work for the children of Los Angeles and this nation.

Guzman-Lopez: Brewer left immediately after his remarks. So did the four board members sitting in the front row. Leon Jenkins, president-elect of the Los Angeles NAACP, listened to the speech a couple of rows behind them.

Leon Jenkins: The two things that were disturbing to me, one, he did mention buyout, which indicates to me that apparently the votes aren't there to keep him there. Secondly, that he feels that he's not getting a fair shake and it may have some ethnic potential there.

Guzman-Lopez: Some civic leaders say that while test scores are up, Brewer's lost the confidence of L.A. Unified's top administrators. Teachers' union president A.J. Duffy said that's slowing momentum toward reform.

A.J. Duffy: If he is going to leave, if he steps down or is bought out, he needs to leave right away and we need to have Ray Cortines in his place immediately to bring stability back to the school district.

Guzman-Lopez: Some education scholars say that while newly elected school boards in other districts often replace superintendents, performance at L.A. Unified doesn't appear to merit such a drastic change. Now, that decision is up to the seven-member L.A. Unified Board of Education.

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