STUDIO CITY—Weeks after the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to extend superintendent Ramon Cortines’ contract, he surprised the board by announcing that he plans to retire from the nation’s second-largest school board in only six months.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, June 23. Cortines’ plans to retire halfway through the upcoming school year, and six months before his contract ends. Weeks ago the board unanimously voted to extend Cortines’ contract until the end of the upcoming school year.
The school board has one meeting left before their summer recess, which is scheduled for next week. This gives the board one week to plan for a replacement superintendent. After next week the board will be in recess for the next seven weeks.
Many board members have vocalized their support for Cortines and have publically stated that they do not blame him for his announcement. Board member Monica Ratliff commented in a written statement, “I admire his announcement, because it makes it very clear that the board cannot continue to put off its duty of finding his successor.” She also called for transparency in finding a new superintendent, as the last deal was done behind closed doors. When Cortines took over as superintendent for John Deasy, the public was only notified once the deal was made.
Cortines came out of retirement last October to take over for the former superintendent, John Deasy. He was the LAUSD’s superintendent a total of three times, serving twice before coming back in October 2014. He has also held superintendent positions in Pasadena, San Jose, and San Francisco.
The president of the school board, Richard Vladovic, stated Thursday that he expects the search for a new superintendent to last about seven months after the board begins the search process. The current Deputy Superintendent, Michelle King, volunteered to take over Cortines’ position in the interim if she is needed.