Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday morning that he was "disheartened" to hear that Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy could be leaving the school system and the mayor issued a strongly worded statement about the school board.
The Board of Education, the mayor said, "is there to set policy, is there to guide the direction. But at the end of the day, they're not the ones who are supposed to actually run the district. That's supposed to be the superintendent."
Garcetti said L.A. Unified is moving in the right direction -- reducing dropout rates, improving test scores and building new schools.
“I think the adults at the school district, across the board, need to remember that there are kids who are the collateral damage to any loss of leadership, any loss of momentum, and any dysfunction and fighting," Garcetti said. "It may be that there will be a transition. This is going to be an evolving story. And I’ve certainly been talking to many parties."
The mayor said that if there is a transition at the top, he would be involved. "Absolutely," he said, "I will be weighing in and be involved in making sure that we have the right leader there. It is critical for our children to make sure that there's a strong leader."
Deasy said Thursday evening that he had not submitted a letter of resignation but that he would have more to say about his future with the district on Tuesday, after his performance evaluation.
High-level district officials said Thursday evening that Deasy had said he would consider leaving -- possibly in February.
Board president Richard Vladovic was among those who spoke to Deasy on Thursday. His office said he was "shocked, saddened and surprised" by rumors of the superintendent's departure.
Vladovic and Deasy have been at odds. In July, Deasy threatened to quit if Vladovic became the school board president. But Deasy remained.
A top Deasy deputy, Jaime Aquino, resigned recently citing board dysfunction as a main reason for his departure.
Deasy has come under criticism recently for his $1-billion iPad program in which he intends to provide all students and teachers with the tablets. The school board is holding a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the superintendent's plans.