Friday, October 08, 2010


By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News |

Superintendent of Schools Ramon Cortines offered his resignation on Friday ... then withdrew it. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

10/08/2010 08:53:04 PM PDT - Upset over a policy disagreement with the school board, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines offered his resignation Friday, only to later be persuaded to stay on, according to several district officials.

Cortines, 78, had already planned to retire in spring, but sent an email around noon Friday to board members saying he would resign in December, according to several officials who saw the email.

"There was a letter, there was a misunderstanding, a lot of conversation and resolution but there is no resignation," said Monica Garcia, LAUSD board president.

"I'm completely confident...we are going to stay focused on the work. Kids are counting on us."

Cortines was frustrated with the school board over a resolution members planned to introduce next week to overrule a plan he had to eliminate school plant managers.

The plan would have reduced the number of plant managers – who oversee maintenance and facilities issues at schools – to deal with the severe budget cuts that have caused the shortening of the school year and increases in class sizes.

Rumors have already been circulating about Cortines leaving before his announced spring retirement date. The veteran educator has cut ties with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has tried in recent years to assert more control over the district.

Cortines did not respond to multiple requests for comment Friday.

Cortines was hired as Superintendent in December 2008, and has had to spend much of his tenure dealing with the district's massive budget shortfalls.

"Superintendents get mad, and he got upset but he's OK. ... He's fine ... he's staying," said board member Richard Vladovic, the primary author of the plant manager resolution.

LAUSD Deputy Superintendent John Deasy said he also asked Cortines to stay.

"I asked him to remember the fact that the team expects him to work with us until he retires in the spring so we can have a measured transition," Deasy said.

"Everybody occasionally overreacts. The reality is we have far bigger issues in front of us than one resolution."

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