INGLEWOOD : McKenna Becomes Compton Deputy Supt.

Inglewood School District Supt. George McKenna--touted as a hero by his supporters and reviled as an autocrat by his detractors--has been hired by the Compton Unified School District as a deputy superintendent.

Inglewood trustees did not renew McKenna's $98,000-a-year contract in August, primarily because of budget concerns. It expires June 30, district spokeswoman Elizabeth Norwood said.

In Compton, McKenna's job will be to overhaul the city's three high schools, which are beset by many of the same ills facing Inglewood--low scores on state standardized tests, ethnic tension between African Americans and Latinos, and bilingual programs that are deemed inadequate to meet the needs of non-English-speaking students. McKenna will be paid $103,000 a year.

Among his first duties will be to equip the science labs at the schools and improve the curriculum.

McKenna, who was not available for comment, came to Inglewood after a television movie portrayed him as a hero who turned around a Los Angeles high school, and he leaves the city after a stormy six-year tenure.

A search is under way for a new Inglewood superintendent.

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