Bill Raden, the investigative journalist at Capital & Main, unearthed a surprising deal behind Austin Beutner’s decision to settle with the UTLA.

https://capitalandmain.com/learning-curves-lausd-hire-under-fire-0201

it involved hiring the son of a key politician.

Raden writes:

One political winner of last week’s Los Angeles teachers strike settlement was L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner. The former investment banker has made no secret of his desire to one day land the top job at L.A. City Hall, and signing a deal became his first real test of public leadership. Test Two may be more daunting — namely, explaining why he put a scandal-plagued and #MeToo-accused former State Assemblymember on the district payroll as a lobbyist.

The existence of the four-week lobbying contractbetween LAUSD and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (SRT), whose father is the powerful L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (MRT), came to light January 16, when the Assembly released findings that SRT likely sexually harassed staffers before resigning from the legislature in December 2017. The L.A. Times noted that SRT had accompanied Beutner and LAUSD school board president Mónica García to Sacramento on January 9 to help them drum up lawmaker opposition to the teachers strike. But it is the timing of Beutner’s January 11 bargaining offer two days later — sweetened by a $10 million pledgeof county mental health money for school nurses by MRT — that is now raising eyebrows.

Not to worry, former Center for Governmental Studies president Robert Stern assured Learning Curves: “The only way [SRT’s hiring] would have been illegal is if [Mark] Ridley-Thomas had gone to Beutner and said, ‘You want $10 million? Hire my son.’ But is it unethical? Absolutely!”