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Educator's pact renewed

L.A. Unified chief keeps the same salary, falling short of goals that would boost pay.

October 11, 2012|Howard Blume
  • L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy, chatting with student David Paredes at Figueroa Street Elementary School earlier this year, has consistently celebrated “amazing progress” in the district in recent weeks.
L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy, chatting with student David Paredes at Figueroa… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has received a one-year contract extension, but was unable to achieve ambitious performance targets that would have triggered a salary bonus.

His contract now runs through June 2015, with an annual salary that remains at $330,000.

"Our students are benefiting from his innovative and visionary direction," said school board President Monica Garcia.

The Board of Education voted 6 to 0 on the contract for the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school system, in a closed session Tuesday evening. Board member Richard Vladovic left before the tally for personal reasons. The action was announced at the end of the meeting before a nearly empty boardroom.

"Leadership is a valuable commodity," board member Steve Zimmer said later. "Even though there are policy disagreements on the board, there was unanimity in moving the work forward and the value of continuity in a time of upheaval. It was not a contentious decision."

Deasy could not meet targets related to third-grade reading scores, graduation rates and ninth-grade algebra that would have qualified him for as much as $30,000 extra.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, October 12, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
John Deasy contract: An article in the Oct. 11 LATExtra section about L.A. Unified School District Supt. John Deasy's one-year contract extension said that he took the district's top job in early 2010. He started in early 2011.

Still, in recent weeks, Deasy has consistently celebrated "amazing progress," as he put it, and he's expected to find more to tout with Thursday's release of school and district scores on the state's Academic Performance Index, which is based on student scores on annual standardized tests.

"The district is strong and getting stronger every day," he said at a Monday "state of the district" address.

Deasy, who took the top job in early 2010, has set performance targets for L.A. Unified that are different but related to his contract incentives. One example is the graduation rate.

Before Deasy's first full year on the job, it had risen to a higher-than-anticipated 62%. The district target for the following year, 2011-12, was 60%. Deasy's benchmark to earn a $10,000 bonus was 70%. The actual rate was 64%.

Deasy noted the increased graduation rate with pride while acknowledging that it also fell far short of his aspirations. He also has repeatedly stated that district gains could evaporate if California voters fail to approve either Proposition 30 or Proposition 38 -- tax measures on the ballot in November.

Third-grade reading scores rose 3 points this year, with 43% of students scoring at grade level or better. The district goal was 49%; Deasy's contract incentive required 48%.

Beyond the bonus provisions in the contract are district goals by which the superintendent also is being measured. L.A. Unified, for example, had a target last year for reducing the number of days students are out of school because of suspensions. The goal was a 5% improvement. But the district did much better: 43%, meaning suspensions were cut nearly in half.

The district fell short on other measures, despite improvements over the previous year.

Under the terms of Deasy's contract, the extension was automatic provided that he received a positive evaluation by the end of October.

The school board and Deasy retain the right to terminate his employment at any time with 30 days' notice.

Deasy is also entitled to a car, a driver and a $500,000 life insurance policy under the ongoing agreement.

Like other employees, he has agreed to 10 unpaid furlough days. The unpaid days will cost him about $12,700, according to the district.

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howard.blume@latimes.com

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