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With two offers in hand, Pinellas superintendent pick wants to speak with board members who voted against him



Carvalhophoto In a stunning turn of events, Alberto Carvalho, selected today as Pinellas County's new schools superintendent, has been offered the superintendent's job in Miami. The job came open as the Miami-Dade School Board severed its relationship with superintendent Rudy Crew and agreed to pay him a $368,000 settlement.

In a situation that is expected to unfold into the wee hours Thursday, Carvalho has not decided which job to accept. With Crew gone, he has been tied up with the Miami-Dade board in a budget meeting that is expected to last until 1 or 2 a.m.

In an interview with The Gradebook shortly after 8:30 p.m., Carvalho said he has spoken with the chairs of both boards and agreed not to accept either job until he does two things: 1) He plans to speak tonight or early tomorrow with the Miami-Dade board chair Agustin J. Barrera and 2.) He plans to travel to Pinellas within the next day or so to speak with the three school board members who voted against him Wednesday. Those board members are Mary Brown, Linda Lerner and Peggy O'Shea.

Four other board members - Nancy Bostock, Janet Clark, Carol Cook and Jane Gallucci - voted to hire Carvalho.

"I really would like to articulate a vision and see if there's a connection there," Carvalho said, referring to the three "no" votes. Asked if money would play a role in his decision, he said: "Salary's actually the least of all my considerations." He repeated what he said in his interviews, that Pinellas was a community committed to quality education and that it could go from "good to great" as a district. He added, "That is still extremely attractive to me."

He said he would choose the district with "the greatest opportunity to actually do the work that's in my head right now." He said he planned to settle the issue within 48 to 72 hours. "I think both of these communities deserve some degree of finality," he said.

Before he spoke to The Gradebook, he called Pinellas board chairperson Nancy Bostock. The two plan to talk Thursday morning.

Click here to read the Miami Herald report filed earlier today about Crew's departure and the decision to offer Carvalho the job.

The Miami-Dade board voted 5-3 to offer Carvalho the job after a confusing and contentious series of votes. "I couldn't even keep track of what was going on at one point," said Mark Herdman, a Pinellas lawyer who represents teachers and who watched the proceedings live in Miami. At one point, the board asked Carvalho to be interim superintendent but he declined, saying he had an offer in Pinellas.

Bostock said the developments did not diminish her opinion of Carvalho. She said it was "reaffirming" that another school board also found him to be an attractive choice for superintendent.

The other candidates for the Pinellas job are interim Pinellas superintendent Julie Janssen and Nicholas M. Gledich, chief of operations for Orange County schools. Wednesday's contentious debate In Pinellas centered around whether to hire Janssen, the safe internal candidate with the trust of district employees, or Carvalho, the outsider with new ideas. The board briefly discussed the possibility of Gledich as a compromise candidate.

Part of the Pinellas debate centered around how loyal an outside candidate would be to Pinellas over the long term. "I don’t want to look for another superintendent in three years,” Board member Mary Brown said at a workshop. Even if Carvalho decided to take the Pinellas job, today's events are sure to strengthen doubts about his desire to make a long commitment to the district.

Pinellas is prepared to offer its new superintendent a salary of $200,000 to $240,000. The Miami-Dade board was paying Crew $300,000 plus $100,000 in benefits. Both districts are in dire financial straits because of Florida's budget crisis.

The final decision on a Pinellas contract was not scheduled until Sept. 23.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:56am]


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