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Ramon Cortines resigns from Scholastic board

February 18, 2010 | 12:59 pm

L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines resigned Thursday from the board of Scholastic Inc., a position that paid him compensation worth more than $150,000 last year.

Cortines’ dual role with the company and the district received scrutiny in the wake of an article on that subject last week in The Times. In defending his position with Scholastic in a recent interview, Cortines said he avoided any issue at the district involving the leading educational publishing company. And his senior staff said this recusal included any decision involving academic intervention programs.

Scholastic provides the district’s primary reading intervention program for high schools. And, as of this year, Scholastic’s program also became a key component for middle schools. The company has earned more than $5.2 million from the L.A. Unified School District since Cortines joined the school system as its No. 2 administrator in April 2008. He became superintendent in December 2008.

Cortines is paid $250,000 a year by L.A. Unified.

The superintendent’s brief letter to Scholastic's president and chief executive officer, Richard Robinson, read as follows:

“Per my telephone conversation with you and attorney Andy Hedden on Thursday, February 18, 2010, this correspondence serves as a formal notice of resignation from the corporate board at Scholastic Corporation. A hard copy of this correspondence has been mailed to you.”

Copies of the letter were sent to members of the Board of Education and school district general counsel David Holmquist.

Board members had been placing no pressure on Cortines to resign from Scholastic last week, but it’s unclear whether their views changed in the wake of increased public awareness of the matter.

-- Howard Blume

Photo: L.A. Times file

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