Hunter plans to serve remaining term

January 04, 1991|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

Superintendent Richard C. Hunter still plans to serve out the ** remainder of his three-year contract, but questions are being raised about the Baltimore school system's future under his lame-duck tenure.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke two weeks ago decided to drop Hunter after the superintendent's contract expires July 31, capping a long period of mayoral dissatisfaction with Hunter's leadership.

Following a school board meeting last night, Hunter again said that he intends to serve out his $125,000-a-year contract. He also refused to comment on the possibility that he could be pushed to resign before that.

"Nobody has made indications of that to me," said Hunter.

Hunter brushed aside the suggestion of tension between himself and the board, saying "we have worked with each other for almost three years and continue to work with each other."

But at least one school board member said that Hunter's presence will put pressure on the board to resolve the question of leadership well before July.

"I think it would be very difficult for us to move into the legislative session with the issue of the leadership of the school system under question," said board member Meldon S. Hollis Jr. "I think we have to be very clear when we go before the legislature."

The 1991 General Assembly starts next week, and the school system faces a tough battle for its share of scarce state aid to education.

Hollis also noted that parents have voiced concern about the direction of the system with Hunter on the way out.

"These are issues that are not resolved," said Hollis. "I predict that they'll be resolved very quickly."

Board members are just now returning from their holiday breaks, he said, and the superintendent's situation is "a matter of first importance to us."

But Hollis downplayed the possibility that Hunter's contract could be terminated prior to July 31.

"I don't think the school board is going to go beyond the position that it has taken" in simply letting Hunter's contract expire without offering a new one, Hollis said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Baltimore Council of PTAs last night demanded to know what lies ahead for the system now that Schmoke has expressed his lack of confidence in the superintendent.

Anthony Stewart, president of the group, said parents are "sick and tired" of turnovers in the system.

"Parents would like to be assured that if and when we find a new miracle superintendent . . . that significant results will filter down to the classroom in the next two years," said Stewart.

He called on the board to meet with PTA members before the end of the month to address questions about the system's future.

The Council of PTAs sent a letter to Schmoke two weeks ago supporting Hunter and opposing the mayor's decision not to renew the superintendent's contract.

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