With today's resignation of Supt. John Deasy, Ramon Cortines is back in charge (on an interim basis) of the Los Angeles Unified School District for the third time. Now 82, Cortines last left the district in 2011, when he retired after a stormy final period. Under pressure he resigned a controversial position on the board of LAUSD supplier Scholastic Inc., which paid him $150,000 a year over and above his public salary. After he left, the school board agreed to pay $200,000 and give lifetime health benefits to settle a sexual-harassment allegation filed by a district executive who claimed repeated unwanted sexual advances by Cortines while he was superintendent.
Deasy's exit package, per Howard Blume in the LA Times:
As part of the separation agreement, Deasy will remain on paid "special assignment" with the district through the end of 2014. Under that arrangement he will receive more than 60 days' pay based on his salary of $350,000 per year. His contract, which was set to run through June 2016, requires a severance payment of only 30 days' pay.
The school on the site of the former LAUSD headquarters on Fort Moore Hill in downtown Los Angeles is officially the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts. Cortines returns to the district offices on Monday and says he's a reluctant returnee. From the Daily News:
“I think that the board said they are facing some major issues and would I work with them and help them and work with the staff to solve some of the issues the district is facing,” Cortines said in an interview. “I said that they should look elsewhere and they kept coming back to me.”
Cortines, 82, lives in the Pasadena area. He will begin work at the district Monday. He retired from the district in April 2011 amid claims of sexual harassment of a male employee.
In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti, who supported Deasy, thanked and praised the outgoing superintendent for his service and said he looks forward to working with Cortines.
“I look forward to working closely with the board and with Ray Cortines, a steady hand and experienced leader who can continue to focus the district on its critical work,” Garcetti wrote. “Our kids need education and opportunities that prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow, and I will continue working with the board and the new superintendent to continue the forward progress the district has made.”