LA Unified Superintendent Brewer defends record in wake of buyout reports

There's an effort to oust the superintendent the Los Angeles Unified School District hired two years ago amid great fanfare. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: The agenda for the L.A. Unified school board's closed session included the item "Employee Evaluation: Superintendent of Schools." Brewer said he learned the day before that it wouldn't be the usual chat about his progress, but a discussion about buying out the remaining two years on his contract.

David Brewer: Basically I was informed by the board, you know, by the board, it was quite obvious that something was happening. I was informed and I'm just going to leave it at that.

Guzman-Lopez: The Los Angeles Times reports that school board president Monica Garcia is leading the effort to oust Brewer. The president of L.A. Unified's teachers union said that Brewer, a former U.S. Navy admiral with no significant school district experience, is a poor fit for the job.

Brewer said he wants to remain on the job so he can continue policies that have led to higher test scores.

Brewer: I inherited a terrible, terrible payroll system problem, resolved that; inherited a child abuse reporting problem, solved that. And of course, we're now in the worst budget crisis in the history of the state of California.

Guzman-Lopez: Earlier this year Brewer hired former interim superintendent Ramon Cortines – a former deputy to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – to take charge of instruction matters.

University of Southern California education researcher Priscilla Wohlstetter says that choice confirms a school district leader needs to know education and politics.

Priscilla Wohlstetter: I'm wondering if what we're seeing in Los Angeles surfaces or suggests the need for a new model of leadership in some of the very mega school districts.

Guzman-Lopez: L.A. Unified's school board is again set to meet in closed session next week.