LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Could the Los Angeles Unified School District Board be closer to naming a new superintendent to lead the nation’s second-largest school district?

The number of candidates is now down to three, after Indianapolis schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday.

“Recently, I was announced as one of the finalists for the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent position,” Ferebee said in a statement reported by The Indianapolis Star. “After further discussing this endeavor with my family, the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners and those handling the search process, I have withdrawn my name from consideration. It was an honor to have been considered for an opportunity of this magnitude.”

The three other candidates include interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian, investment banker and one-time Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, and former Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 58-year-old Beutner, who was also a former Los Angeles deputy mayor under Antonio Villaraigosa, is the front-runner for the job.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since September, when Michelle King went on medical leave. King announced in January that she had cancer and would not return to the job.

The incoming superintendent would face a number of challenges on day one, including rising pension costs, underfunded retiree health benefits, union pressure to raise salaries, and a contract dispute with thousands of LAUSD support workers, amid declining enrollment.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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