POLITICS
10/16/2014 04:50 am ET Updated Dec 15, 2014

Los Angeles School District Head Expected To Step Down - LA Times

Michael Kovac via Getty Images

By Dana Feldman

LOS ANGELES, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles schools superintendant is expected to resign after reaching a departure agreement with the school board, the Los Angeles Times reported, after problems dogged the rollout of a landmark program to provide iPads to students.

John Deasy, 53, had heralded the program to distribute iPads to around 650,000 students by the end of the year as a civil rights initiative to provide low-income students with a 21st-century tool common in middle-class households.

But the $1.3 billion project, the largest of its kind in U.S. public education, encountered problems, including students bypassing security measures to access prohibited content. Critics also complained about the process used to select Apple to provide iPads and Pearson to provide its built-in curriculum.

The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday cited the problems with the iPad rollout as one of the reasons for Deasy's decision to quit after three and a half years as superintendant of the second largest school district in the United States.

It said an interim superintendent could be named as early as Thursday morning, citing an anonymous source close to the negotiations.

Reuters could not independently verify the newspaper report. Representatives for the district did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Deasy suspended the contract with Apple Inc in August and announced that other firms would be invited to potentially step in to provide devices.

"I'd be very hard pressed to find a contract that I voted for that I've been more disappointed with," school board member Steven Zimmer told Reuters at the time.

Deasy has also come under criticism over a new student records system that crashed in the fall, the Times reported, though his defenders have lauded rising test scores and graduation rates during his tenure despite budget cutbacks. (Editing by Curtis Skinner and Gareth Jones)

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