Carroll County's interim schools chief directed departing Superintendent William H. Hyde yesterday to immediately return a laptop computer and other taxpayer-funded equipment issued to him by the school board.
Charles I. Ecker, who officially takes over as interim superintendent tomorrow, called Hyde to ask that he mail back the laptop computer, handheld computer, cellular telephone, office key, credit card and identification badge that were issued during his tenure.
Hyde took the equipment with him when he moved to Seeley Lake, Mont., in mid-August for a new job. "He told Dr. Ecker that he would find a box and ship it back today," schools spokeswoman Carey Gaddis said yesterday.
Hyde had previously told the school system's information technology manager that he would return the equipment when he returned to Maryland next month to testify before the grand jury investigating management in the school system. He returned one of his two school board-issued cellular phones, which was so antiquated that the school staff threw it away.
School board members said Tuesday that they expected the equipment to be returned sooner, arguing that the property should be back in Carroll County by Sept. 1, when Hyde officially retires from the school system.
The flap is the most recent in a series of disputes to arise since Hyde unexpectedly announced that he would retire Sept. 1 without completing the final two years of his $118,965-a-year contract.
He further surprised school board members last week when word spread that he had started work as superintendent of a 240-student school system in a northwestern Montana mountain town with fewer residents than the Carroll schools have employees.
He is under contract with Carroll through today and did not inform school board members that he was leaving and heading west for a new job.
Hyde has previously refused to comment, saying only, "You get absolutely no comment from me. I am concerned about the types of articles that have been written and some of the comments that have been made, and I have no reason to share any information with you. I appreciate your call and regret that I can't talk with you. Goodbye."