Ex-Howard schools chief takes interim job in N.Y.

December 11, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Deposed Howard County Superintendent John R. O'Rourke has a new job: interim superintendent at a small school district in upstate New York.

O'Rourke, whose contract was not renewed by the Howard school board in January, will be appointed interim schools chief for the 9,500-student Shenendehowa Central School District at a meeting Tuesday, according to its school board president, Gary DiLallo.

O'Rourke, who came to Howard County in 2000 as a highly regarded administrator, left in February after a tumultuous school year that included two grade-tampering controversies and his public falling-out with the five-member board.

"As part of the process, we did a thorough background check," DiLallo said, adding that O'Rourke is not a candidate for the permanent job. "We were satisfied with what we read and what we heard."

Instead of Howard's 69 schools and a $461 million operating budget, O'Rourke will oversee Shenendehowa Central School District's 11 schools and $113 million spending plan. The school district is about 15 miles north of Albany.

O'Rourke will begin work Jan. 10 and will be paid on a per diem basis - $600 a day, said DiLallo, who hopes to have a permanent superintendent by spring.

In February, O'Rourke stepped down from the Howard County position and accepted a buyout totaling more than $100,000 after initially refusing to leave his post when the school board voted not to renew his four-year contract.

O'Rourke, named the national Superintendent of the Year in 1997, previously headed the Pittsford Central School District near Rochester, N.Y. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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