Superintendent in Maryland district sues her own school board

Superintendent in Maryland district sues her own school board

Howard County Superintendent Renee Foose says the board's actions have illegally usurped her authority.

The superintendent of the Howard County (Md.) school district has sued her own school board, contending that board members have taken a series of illegal steps aimed at undermining her authority.

Howard County Supt. Renee Foose
The Baltimore Sun reports that Superintendent Renee Foose says in the lawsuit that the board's actions are a "direct threat to the orderly administration of the school system" and have created "chaos and uncertainty."

The lawsuit filed in Howard County Circuit Court details several ways in which Foose believes that board members have sought to strip her of her authority.

When the board was sworn in Dec. 5, it passed eight resolutions, including a move to give it responsibility over board staff, such as the board administrator, secretarial staff and internal auditor. Board members say the changes were made to increase transparency.

The board also prohibited Foose from communicating with counsel on legal matters and gave the board authority to control and fire specific employees. Later that month, the board voted to enter into a contract with attorney Daniel Furman for $24,999 — $1 shy of the amount that requires a public, competitive bidding process — to serve as legal counsel to the board.

Foose declined to approve the contract, which required her consent, and deemed it invalid and illegitimate.

The lawsuit seeks a ruling that upholds her decision to reject Furman's contract. It also asks the court to void the resolutions she deems unlawful and instruct the board not to exclude her from meetings she's legally required to attend.

Foose became superintendent of the 53,000-student Howard County district in 2012. She received a contract extension last year that pays her new $273,000 a year.


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