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School Board to Name Panel in Superintendent Search


The Los Angeles Unified School District board will appoint a 14-member committee of parents, teachers, business and community leaders to help in the search for the system's next superintendent.

School board President Mark Slavkin said the committee will help gather public opinion, refine the district's selection criteria and help the board decide whether to hire a private consultant.

The board is seeking public input, Slavkin said, because "the more we do to include people to engage various segments of our community the better. We want the community to see this is a participatory process and not something that will be done secretively."

Ethnic politics over appointing a Latino to the post have been brewing since Supt. Sid Thompson announced his resignation in April. The school board rejected community pressure to immediately appoint Deputy Supt. Ruben Zacarias and instead decided on a broad search that will include interviewing outside candidates.

Juan Jose Guttierez, a member of a loosely knit group of Latino activists urging Zacarias' appointment, said community participation is essential on the selection committee.

"I think that it would be of the utmost importance to make sure there would be community representation," said Guttierez, who owns an immigration services business in Los Angeles. He stressed that a Latino representative would add legitimacy to the committee "given the controversy that has erupted over this process."

Each school board member will select two representatives to the panel, either within or outside their respective areas.

The names of the committee members will be announced at the board's June 3 meeting.

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