Search for Schools Superintendent Still Underway

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Unified School District remained without a designated new supervisor today despite more than 10 hours of meetings by the Los Angeles Board of Education.

The school board announced after its meeting at around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday that it would reconvene Friday.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that there were apparently four finalists when Tuesday's meeting started: investment banker and one-time Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian, former Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso and Indianapolis schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee. Beutner, 58, appeared to have the inside track, according to The Times.

The lack of an announcement could mean several things, according to The Times: that no one had a majority of votes; that the board or the candidate was still trying for more than a slim 4-3 majority; or that a decision has been made but important details of the employment contract remain under negotiation. Another possibility is that the board could be trying to bring in a team of leaders with different skills, possibly choosing more than one person to run the district from among a larger pool of candidates, according to the newspaper.

L.A. Unified faces rising pension costs, underfunded retiree health benefits and union pressure to raise salaries, all while declining enrollment is draining financial resources, The Times reported.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since September, when Michelle King went on medical leave. King announced in January that she had cancer and would not return to the job.

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