Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alex Cherniss is leaving the Beverly Hills Unified School District to become the chief business officer at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), the regional body that oversees the district.
Cherniss is generally well regarded by school board members and parents, and his departure leaves big shoes to fill. He oversaw everything from the to the . Cherniss is also credited with first noticing financial irregularities among the records of former facilities director , who was convicted Nov. 21, 2011 of four felony conflict of interest counts related to charges that she secretly arranged to be an independent contractor while performing her duties as facilities director.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [for me] and is really a reflection of the great work we’ve been doing in Beverly Hills,” Cherniss told Patch. “The Board of Education has established systems that will ensure daily business operations will continue to operate effectively and efficiently.”
Cherniss began his career at BHUSD 10 years ago as a math teacher at before becoming the principal of and then moving to the district office as the head of human resources. He assumed his position as the assistant superintendent of business services about 18 months ago.
As the LACOE CBO, Cherniss will oversee the budgets of 13 community colleges and 80 K-8 districts, including the BHUSD. LACOE is the largest regional educational agency in the country, according to its website. It administers an annual budget of $753 million.
Board President Brian Goldberg said the move offers a silver lining for BHUSD because Cherniss is familiar with funding, under which a district is financed by local property taxes rather than the state. BHUSD is the only basic aid district in Los Angeles County.
“While this is a tremendous loss to the district it will be helpful to have a CBO at LACOE reviewing our budgets who understands basic aid. This will be a first for LACOE,” Goldberg said. “It is a real compliment to our district that LACOE aggressively recruited Dr. Cherniss. I am confident that the team we have in place will be more than up for the task of continuing the great work begun during Alex’s tenure.”
Those who will be assuming some of Cherniss’ responsibilities after his departure include Mary Anne McCabe, executive director of fiscal services, business consultant La Tanya Kirk-Carter and the District Finance Committee. will discuss a transition plan for Cherniss’ position at the next board meeting on Feb. 28. Cherniss’ last day with the district has not been decided.