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L.A. school board votes to buy out David Brewer's contract

December 9, 2008 |  1:15 pm

The Los Angeles Board of Education today has voted to buy out Supt. David L. Brewer midway through his four-year contract to run the nation’s second-largest school system.

No decision on a successor was announced, but it is widely expected that Senior Deputy Supt. Ramon C. Cortines will accept the position on at least an interim basis. Cortines relayed through a spokesperson that he would have no comment at this time on the district’s leadership situation.

Brewer, 62, announced Monday his willingness to accept a buyout, one week after Board of Education President Monica Garcia made it clear she would seek to replace him. Brewer's contract entitles him to an 18-month buyout, which apparently could cost in excess of $500,000 including salary and expenses. But no details of the cost were immediately available.

Garcia -- and some of Brewer's critics -- have said the superintendent has not moved quickly enough and effectively enough to improve the school system. Brewer has pointed out that gains on test scores this year well outpaced the state as a whole and that the district last month successfully passed its largest bond issue ever. Since coming aboard eight months ago, Cortines has managed day-to-day operations as well as long-term planning for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Cortines, 76, brings with him one of the longest resumes in education, a stark contrast to Brewer, a retired Navy admiral with a passion for helping children but no direct experience in public education.

-- Jason Song and Howard Blume

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