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Pittsburgh Board Maneuvers to Keep Superintendent

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Here's a twist to the ol' love-hate relationship between superintendents and school boards: The Pittsburgh school board so badly wants to keep Superintendent Mark Roosevelt in their city that they are asking him to resign. Yes, that's right, resign.

Of course that sounds illogical, but the board really wants to pin Roosevelt down for three years years beyond his current contract, which runs through 2011. But under Pennsylvania law, contracts for superintendents in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are limited to six years, according to this story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Roosevelt, who was hired in 2005, will hit that limit if he serves out the remainder of his contract.

So one way to get around losing him in a couple years is for Roosevelt to resign, and be immediately rehired under a new contract. Board members want to keep Roosevelt off the job market, though a new, longer contract would not necessarily be a guarantee of that. Just ask the Memphis school board what happened to Carol Johnson after they extended her contract.

In his four years, Roosevelt has led an aggressive school improvement campaign in Pittsburgh: closing under-enrolled schools, using performance pay for principals, and now, steering the district toward overhauling teacher recruitment, training, evaluation, and compensation as one of five finalists to receive millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work on teacher quality.

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