[Updated] LAUSD chief Ramon Cortines is retiring

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines
LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines
Lauren Osen/KPCC

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After a year and a half in the job, L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines says he's retiring from the school district in the spring. He says the long days and the workload during the budget crisis of the last few years has taken a toll on him.

Cortines said he's laid the groundwork for transition after two years of overseeing education reform. Cortines, who says he's exhausted after a turbulent period of budget cuts and rapid reform, will leave next spring.

"I'm an old man," Cortines said. "I'm 78 today. I think I've shepherded the district in the last two and a half years through some very difficult times and I think the district needs somebody that can be here five to six, seven years and I can't."

He said it was time to step aside and find a leader who can stay for the long haul, saying the district needed to have continuity, flexibility and accountability.

Cortines was offered a three-year contract by the school board to replace embattled Superintendent David Brewer. Cortines briefly led the school district a decade ago.

He has already turned over his office space to deputy superintendent John Deasy, the deputy director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who begins his job Aug. 1 with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

District insiders consider Deasy, the former Santa Monica-Malibu schools superintendent, a likely successor to Cortines.

The AP contributed to this story