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L.A. schools superintendent candidate Andres Alonso got an endorsement Friday, but Austin Beutner and Vivian Ekchian also have supporters.
L.A. schools superintendent candidate Andres Alonso got an endorsement Friday, but Austin Beutner and Vivian Ekchian also have supporters. (Elizabeth Malby)

The Los Angeles Board of Education is reconvening in closed session Friday at noon as anticipation mounts about the choice of the next leader of the nation’s second-largest school system. The presumed front-runner is former investment banker and philanthropist Austin Beutner, but interim Supt. Vivian Ekchian and former Baltimore Supt. Andres Alonso also are in the running.

Most district insiders appear to be rooting for Ekchian, who has spent her entire career in education within the school system. After her 10 years as a teacher, her roles have included head of human resources, chief labor negotiator and regional administrator for campuses in the west San Fernando Valley. She’s managed the district since September, when then-Supt. Michelle King went on medical leave and chose Ekchian to fill in for her. King, who is battling cancer, never returned and announced her retirement in January.

Numerous influential civic leaders have urged — and pressured — the board to select Beutner. Also lending their weight have been advocates for charter schools, which are independently operated, growing in number and competing for students with district-operated campuses. Four of the seven board members — enough to control the outcome — were elected with major financial support from charter supporters.

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Cal State, the nation’s largest public university system, will no longer consider a plan to raise tuition for the 2018-19 academic year, Chancellor Timothy P. White announced Friday.

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(Los Angeles Times)

Students are taking to the streets again Friday to protest gun violence on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

Starting at 10 a.m., students at many schools will spend 13 seconds honoring the 13 people — 12 students and one teacher — killed on that day in Littleton, Colo. After that, they’ll participate in a host of different activities.

Within L.A. Unified, one school is having an open-mic event for students to talk about school violence, and lawmakers are visiting campuses to hear students thoughts.

When administrators at South El Monte High School called Jeremy Sanchez’s parents to say he never showed up for class Wednesday, his father began to worry.

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings last week donated $7 million to bolster Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign.
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings last week donated $7 million to bolster Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

In and around Los Angeles:

Answers to questions about the search for a new L.A. schools superintendent — including how power brokers might be influencing the debate.

Indianapolis schools Supt. Lewis Ferebee took himself out of the running for the job.

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Soon after Neal MacDougall arrived on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus Tuesday, the professor noticed university police standing outside a restroom near his office. A racial slur against African Americans had been scrawled in red marker on a stall wall.

When El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido was secretly recorded telling his students that members of the military were “dumb” and the “lowest of the low,” the public outcry was swift and withering.

Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.
Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. (Danese Kenon / IndyStar)

Lewis Ferebee, the superintendent of Indianapolis public schools, has taken himself out of the running for the job of L.A. schools superintendent.

“After further discussing this endeavor with my family, the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, and those handling the search process, I have withdrawn my name from consideration,” Ferebee confirmed in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “It was an honor to have been considered for an opportunity of this magnitude.”

Reached by phone, Indianapolis school board president Michael O’Connor said Ferebee told him he was attracted by the opportunity of leading the nation’s second-largest school district, but hadn’t fully discussed the implications of such a move with his wife. 

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Acting LAUSD superintendent Vivian Ekchian is a finalist for the permanent job.
Acting LAUSD superintendent Vivian Ekchian is a finalist for the permanent job. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

The L.A. Unified school board spent 10 hours interviewing and discussing candidates for superintendent. When they adjourned after 10 p.m., they said they would reconvene on Friday.

Who is paying for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s much-touted College Promise, a program that promises two years of community college for LAUSD grads?

Families of two children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School have filed lawsuits in Texas against controversial radio host Alex Jones for continually claiming the massacre never happened.