LAUSD Superintendent Steps Down, Pali Unaffected

Anirudh Chatterjee, Features Editor

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent of three years Austin Beutner announced last month that he will step down on June 30, which the Pali administration assured will not affect reopening plans or academic requirements. 

“The superintendent does not have a direct impact on Pali’s curriculum,” said Monica Iannessa, Pali’s Director of Academic Achievement. “As an independent charter, we have independence in our academic program if we meet state academic standards and school learning targets.”

Iannessa said that the superintendent’s mission influences the success of charter schools but generally will not hinder Pali’s fall plans.

“As a charter, we have our own school board. Dr. Magee, in her executive director role, serves as our superintendent,” she said. “Our school board has already approved a return to on-campus learning during the 2021-22 school year.”

Beutner did not indicate why he chose to leave his position, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the LAUSD Board of Education did not ask him to step down. Beutner laid out plans for his time remaining as superintendent in an April 21 letter to the board. 

“I believe that it is fitting that a new superintendent should have the privilege of welcoming students back to school in the fall,” he wrote. “In the meantime, I will remain focused on the task of ensuring that schools reopen in the safest way possible while helping in a seamless leadership transition.”

However, Iannessa said she worries that Beutner’s unexpected resignation might have adverse effects. 

“In my opinion, Mr. Beutner stepping down was too sudden to ensure a smooth transition to leadership for one of the largest districts in the country,” she asserted. “It has taken up to a year to search for qualified candidates in the past.”

To temporarily fill Beutner’s place as interim superintendent, the LAUSD Board of Education selected Megan Reilly, the Deputy Superintendent of Business Services and Operations since June 2019 and Chief Financial Officer from 2007 to 2017. Reilly will assume office on July 1.