When the iPad scandal and MiSiS crisis forced John Deasy to suddenly resign in October, the School Board was forced to scramble for a quick replacement. In their haste, they ignored the baggage that accompanied former Superintendent Ramon Cortines, including “claims of sexual harassment,” and reappointed him to the position. The public was assured that this was only being done on an interim basis and that his contract would expire June 30, 2015.
Unfortunately, in the last seven months the Board has not made any visible movement towards hiring a permanent replacement. Nor have they established any parameters for how the public will be engaged in the process. In the face of this inaction, they voted behind closed doors on Tuesday to extend Cortines’ contract and his $300,000 salary to June 2016. The vote was unanimous.
It seems that the only person who has taken action is Scot Graham, a LAUSD staffer who has filed a third lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by Cortines. The district had previously settled one of these suits, but that settlement had collapsed when Graham became upset that District representatives outed him at a news conference. In addition to detailing the claims of sexual harassment and assault, the suit claims that Cortines “would often say that the Board has no power over him and were simply functionaries of their special interest groups who did not have the savvy to actually wield any power.” Judging by the unanimous vote to keep him another year, he is probably correct.