Cortines Named to Head New York Schools

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Ramon C. Cortines, the former school superintendent in San Francisco, was selected Monday to lead New York City’s million-student public school system.

The Board of Education, divided on the same lines that sent former Chancellor Joseph Fernandez packing, voted, 4 to 3, on a resolution to offer Cortines the job.

Cortines, 61, said that if all goes according to schedule, he will be in the city for the opening of the fall term on Sept. 9.

He headed the San Francisco system from 1986 until last year, then went to Washington as President Clinton’s nominee for undersecretary of education for intergovernmental affairs.


He had said he would accept the New York job over the federal appointment. “I look forward to working with all members of the Board of Education,” he said shortly after hearing about the vote.

In Washington, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley praised Cortines’ selection. “While we at the Department of Education are sorry to lose such a talented individual, we are happy for the 1 million children of New York City who will benefit,” Riley said.

Cortines’ challenger for the job was Gerald Tirozzi, former Connecticut state education commissioner, who was preferred by Mayor David N. Dinkins.

The same four board members who supported Cortines voted to oust Fernandez over such politically charged issues as condom distribution in schools and teaching acceptance of homosexuality.