involvement in the project was "by the book" and with the approval of the district's legal counsel.
"I have practically nothing to hide," Aquino
mentioned in emails to The Instances.
, 49, has come below criticism for correspondence with education giant Pearson, which in the end was selected to offer the curriculum for the district's iPad plan.
Aquino had worked for a Pearson subsidiary just before joining the district.
In a single e-mail, Aquino
appeared to be strategizing with Pearson
representatives when he
wrote: "I believe we would have to make positive that your bid is the lowest 1."
said Thursday he
was not trying to subvert the open bidding method — that he
meant only to emphasize to Pearson
the district's intention to choose the lowest bidder.
In the full e-mail, sent in Might 2012, Aquino expresses concerns about the expense of instruction 2,000 teachers who would then function with their colleagues to study the Pearson
goes on to voice worries about no matter if the district's bandwidth can deal with every student working with a computer system for the 2013 school year.
also weighs whether or not the district really should have an open bidding process, then tends to make the comment about Pearson
coming in with the "lowest 1."
"I was basically explaining that they have to be the low bidder," he
told The Occasions. "That's not proprietary details.
That's merely explaining how it works.
I would say the same issue to any bidder.
I had equivalent conversations with other vendors."
on Thursday also addressed whether or not he
broke ethics rules by discussing contracts with Pearson
L.A Unified policy prohibits personnel from such dealings with former employers for 12 months.
Aquino joined L.A. Unified in July 2011 from America's Decision, a Pearson affiliate.
Less than a year later, records show, he
was exchanging the emails with Pearson
stated there was an explanation for that.
Aquino left the district at the end of last year and now is an executive with New Teacher Center, which provides assistance and education for incoming instructors.
Till the iPad controversy thrust him into the spotlight, Aquino
was comparatively unknown beyond education circles.
A native of the Dominican Republic, he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo.
When there he
also "volunteered to teach literacy to underprivileged children and adults, to work with handicapped kids and to function with people today with leprosy," according to his
moved to the United States in the late 1980s, and in 1990 was named New York State Bilingual Teacher of the Year.
He later held different posts in the New York system and was a deputy superintendent for Hartford Public Schools.
In 2005 he moved west to turn out to be chief academic officer for Denver Public Schools.
The existing superintendent, Tom Boasberg, worked alongside Aquino as a major deputy and called him a "straight shooter."
The complex rating method for bidders was overseen by Aquino
, as part of a compact executive committee.
In June 2013, district employees told the Board of Education that the Apple/Pearson group provided not only the most effective product but also the finest cost.
Board member Steve Zimmer recalled asking Aquino if the bidding method had been beyond reproach.