Former Tulsa School superintendent may lose Pittsburgh, Pa job

Wednesday, January 12th 2005, 2:59 pm
By: News On 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The board overseeing the city's public schools informally decided to buy out the contract of its embattled superintendent, John Thompson, two board members said.

The board voted 5-3 in a closed-door meeting Monday night to approve the buyout at its Jan. 26 meeting, said board members Mark Brentley and Alex Matthews, who have lobbied to have Thompson's contract extended after June 30.

Thompson declined to comment on the informal vote.

The board held the informal vote before a public hearing at which more than a dozen people urged members to reconsider its decision not to renew Thompson's contract.

Thompson, 60, makes $187,500 a year and buying out his contract five months early would cost the district about $78,125 _ including health insurance and other benefits.

His four-year tenure has been marked by battles over school closings and the district's budgets.

Thompson was superintendent of schools in Tulsa, Okla., for six years before he took office in July 2000, becoming the fourth Pittsburgh superintendent in less than eight years. His tenure has been beset by bickering over proposals to close and then reopen schools. Top administrators, including Thompson, were also hit with complaints about credit card use two years ago.

Despite the problems, Thompson has been interviewed for similar jobs in Washington, D.C., and Houston.