LA Daily News Wire Service
Senior Deputy Superintendent Ray Cortines speaks at the Council of Mexican American Administrators in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
Tuesday, 16 Decemeber 2008 -- LOS ANGELES -- Ramon C. Cortines, a Los Angeles Unified School District senior deputy superintendent, was named Tuesday as the successor for outgoing superintendent David L. Brewer III.
Brewer will be leaving at the end of the month, after the LAUSD board voted last week to pay him about $500,000 to buy out the remaining two years of his contract.
The board's vote to hire Cortines was unanimous. He agreed to a three-year contract and will take over as superintendent Jan. 1.
Brewer's decision to hire Cortines in April to oversee LAUSD's day-to-day operations and instruction quickly drew criticism on grounds that it meant, in effect, paying for two superintendents.
Cortines, 76, served as LAUSD superintendent in 2000. He served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's top education adviser and previously headed school districts in New York and San Francisco.
The LAUSD is the nation's second-largest school district, with about 700,000 students.
After weeks of debate among district leaders, the board voted 5-2 to buy out Brewer's contract, with Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte and board member Julie Korenstein dissenting.
Brewer, a retired black U.S. Navy vice admiral, previously called the effort to oust him "demoralizing and debilitating" and suggested he was the victim of racism.
Brewer had earlier vowed to stay on the job, but he said last week he wanted the board to buy him out.
Brewer's supporters have noted that test scores have bumped upward during his stay.
Other critics, including state schools superintendent Jack O'Connell, said that while the district was showing academic improvement, it wasn't happening fast enough.
Brewer was chosen as superintendent after an eight-month search to find a replacement for Roy Romer, former Colorado governor, who retired after six years at the helm of the LAUSD.
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