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L.A. District Changes Management

Ramon Cortines takes helm of district facing budget crisis.

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Ramon C. Cortines, a veteran urban schools chief, was set to take over the nation's second-largest school district Jan. 1 under a three-year contract.

The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted last month to replace Superintendent David L. Brewer III, a retired Navy admiral whom critics called an ineffective figurehead, with Mr. Cortines, the district's senior deputy superintendent. The board voted to buy out the final two years of Mr. Brewer's four-year contract, for about $500,000.

Mr. Cortines, 76, was previously the interim chief of the 700,000-student Los Angeles district in 2000, and he led the school districts in New York City and San Francisco.

Mr. Cortines chose to maintain his salary of $250,000 a year, $50,000 less than Mr. Brewer's, in recognition of the district's budget crisis. He also promised the district would find better ways to work with parents, teachers, and administrators.

Since April, Mr. Cortines has managed day-to-day operations as well as long-term planning for the district.

Vol. 28, Issue 16, Page 4

Published in Print: January 7, 2009, as L.A. District Changes Management
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