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Ex-LA Times Chief Front-Runner For LAUSD Superintendent Post

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and CEO for the L.A. Times is the leading candidate to become superintendent for the L.A. Unified School District, according to a report.

Sources told Austin Beutner's former newspaper Monday that he has emerged as the leading contender to lead LAUSD, despite having no background in education and a nonprofit group that could lose its LAUSD contract for not meeting expectations.

According to the Times, the 58-year-old Beutner, a former investment banker, appears to have more support on the seven-member board than other finalists, and his name could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday, when he's scheduled to be interviewed by the LAUSD for the second time.

This comes, however, despite the school board having received documents last week from the district's general counsel David Holmquist, notifying them that the charity Beutner founded, Vision to Learn, could lose its LAUSD contract. The nonprofit, according to the documents, has fallen far short in its commitment to provide vision screenings and glasses to thousands of low- income students this school year, The Times reported.

In 2010, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Beutner deputy mayor of economic development, or "jobs czar," overseeing 13 city departments and the Port of Los Angeles. He helped to streamline the business-permitting process and led the effort to pass a tax break to lure companies to Los Angeles. Beutner accepted a $1-a-year salary and held the job for 15 months.

When Villaraigosa termed out, Beutner ran for mayor in 2012, but lost.

In 2014, he became publisher and CEO of the L.A. Times but was fired after a year over disagreements about the newspaper's direction.

Beutner was co-founder, president and co-CEO of Evercore Partners, which he helped build into one of the leading independent investment banks in the world. Before that, he worked for Blackstone Group, becoming the private equity capital firm's youngest partner at age 29.

LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King went on medical leave in September for cancer treatment. She will officially retire in June. Interim superintendent Vivian Ekchian has been managing the district since King left. She is also among the finalists for the permanent position.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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