“It is still the most important decision that will have to be made,” Casillas said. “If it’s the school board or the mayor, the most important thing is how that person performs in the job.” Huizar, who served more than four years on the school board, said his frustration led him to join forces with Padilla to form the independent panel. “I felt I was spending too much time on real estate and construction and not enough on education,” Huizar said. “There are good people in the district, but they don’t have the chance to focus on what’s important and what’s happening in the schools. And, too many schools were left on their own to survive.” A number of recommendations have been suggested to the commission, including expanding the school board, creating subdistricts, establishing more charter schools and changing the role of school board members to full-time jobs. In addition to recommendations on how the district is governed, Casillas said, the panel hopes to identify areas in which the district can improve without massive reforms. Casillas and Cunningham said a series of hearings around the district are planned over the next two months. Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Reform of the Los Angeles Unified School District is inevitable – even if it stops short of full mayoral control, leaders of a panel examining the massive district said Tuesday. Maria Casillas and David Cunningham, who chair the President’s Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance, said they are confident the timing is right for change because of the level of interest in improvements. “We think that we can give you a road map for reform, a reform that will change the governance to help improve the level of education,” Cunningham told the City Council’s Education and Neighborhood Committee in a report on his group’s progress. “Ultimately, it will be up to the public to decide. But we believe all the stakeholders are ready to see change in the district.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The panel was formed by former Council President Alex Padilla and then-School Board President Jose Huizar. Padilla stepped down from the presidency and Huizar was recently elected to the City Council; both now serve on the Education and Neighborhood Committee. Cunningham said the commission, which is scheduled to release its final recommendations by June, is not working with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa but is not opposing his efforts. The mayor has said he hopes to release by April his plans for changes in the LAUSD to give him more say in how the schools are run. A spokeswoman said Tuesday he is interested in the panel’s findings – but only as far as they coincide with his efforts to improve the schools. The commission’s work comes as Superintendent Roy Romer has announced he hopes to take an early retirement this year. Casillas, a former teacher and administrator with LAUSD, said Romer’s announcement does not change the panel’s work.