Anne Arundel School Superintendent Larry L. Lorton's decision to resign when his contract expires this summer was sudden but hardly surprising. In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the superintendent and the Anne Arundel Board of Education disagreed on policy and budget issues.
Last month, Mr. Lorton publicly contradicted the board's position on employee furloughs at a community meeting. Stunned and angry, the board called a lengthy time out after which Mr. Lorton recanted his proposal. The rift widened further last week when the superintendent recommended that students be charged $20 for driver's education, but still be allowed to earn credit for the course -- a violation of state law.
Mr. Lorton is papering over differences. He claims to be unaware the board is unhappy with his performance and management style. He denies his resignation is a pre-emptive strike against a board inclined not to renew his contract. He purports to be leaving because the size of the 66,000-pupil system makes it hard to interact with students and teachers. Publicly, at least, the board has remained terse and tight-lipped.