LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Outgoing Superintendent Austin Beutner was honored by the Los Angeles Unified School District board on Tuesday ahead of his previously announced retirement as LAUSD chief.
Beutner's three-year tenure was busy, challenging and at-times rocky. But on Tuesday even some of his critics on the board of education admitted that they had been wrong about him and that he was the right person to lead the district.
During the board's morning meeting, a video was shown that included messages of gratitude and farewell from students, parents and LAUSD officials.
Beutner's stint as superintendent was marked by a 2019 teachers strike, in which the United Teachers Los Angeles union described him as someone who wanted to privatize public education. Later that year, a series of devastating wildfires led to the closure of several LAUSD campuses. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning presented an unprecedented challenge for the second-largest school district in the country.
In an interview with ABC7 on Tuesday, Beutner described his upcoming departure as bittersweet, adding that working to improve the lives of students is something he'll miss.
"When I started with the school district three short years ago, Californians invested about $17,000 per student" while New York spent about $30,000 per student, he said. "This coming year we'll invest $24,000. We'll have more teachers, more counselors, more nurses, more librarians, smaller class sizes, more individualized support for students.
"And if a budget is a reflection of the values of an organization, the values of this organization are in the right place because all of the money is going to schools where it will help students."