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L.A. Unified schools' chief Cortines works for district supplier

February 11, 2010 |  6:09 pm
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thehomeroom/images/2008/05/14/cortines_2.jpgLos Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines earned more than $150,000 last year for serving on the board of one of the nation's leading educational publishing companies, a firm with more than $16 million in contracts with the school district over the last five years.

Scholastic Inc. provides the main reading intervention curriculum for the Los Angeles Unified School District, a program that is part of the company's fast-growing educational technology business.

Cortines has disclosed his relationship with the New York-based company, and officials say he has avoided any decisions on Scholastic contracts.

Cortines' role, however, has generated criticism among some former senior officials and current employees. They said the corporate tie creates an appearance of impropriety.

"My objection is the perception it creates and the door it opens for others to do the same thing," said former school board member Marlene Canter, who sits on the city ethics commission and who said she admires Cortines.

Read the full story here.

-- Howard Blume

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