LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines has been caught double dipping: According to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's man at the LAUSD has been serving on the board of schools supply company Scholastic, Inc., for about $150,000 a year. The company does $16 million a year in business with the district.

Conflict of interest? Kickbacks? Well, no, say Cortines' defenders. He hasn't participated in any board decisions regarding the company, and he was upfront about his relationship with Scholastic.

Cortines says he does his Scholastic duties on his own time. He pulls $250,000 a year to lead the LAUSD, which is in the midst of a battle with the teacher's union over the prospect of third parties taking over schools and reducing teachers' salaries.

As Villaraigosa's clear choice to run the district, Cortines is about as close as the mayor is going to come to his goal of running the LAUSD. While the super's sideline might be legal, it sure doesn't look good, and we can't imagine the mayor is happy with having to put out another political fire.

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