Toledo Public Schools approves 1-year contract with Durant as interim superintendent

4/23/2013
BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Board of Education approved a one-year contract tonight with Romules Durant as interim superintendent of Toledo Public Schools.

Mr. Durant, currently an assistant superintendent in the district, will take over for Jerome Pecko on Aug. 1. Mr. Pecko's three-year contract with the district expires July 31.

The board voted unanimously to offer Mr. Durant the contract, which will pay him $140,000, plus benefits. A copy of his contract was not available at press time.

Mr. Pecko, who announced earlier this year he would leave the district when his contract expires, said the board made a good choice in Mr. Durant, and called him a strong leader.

The board voted April 8 to select Mr. Durant as the district's interim superintendent, choosing him over the other finalist for the position, Douglas Heuer, superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools district.

Though they have referred to the position as an interim superintendent, there is no search scheduled for a permanent position.

At the end of his contract, the board could offer Mr. Durant a full-time position. If the board doesn't, or if Mr. Durant chooses not to accept a longer contract, he can return to his current position, or one with similar authority.

Mr. Durant, 37, an East Toledo native and graduate of Waite High School and the University of Toledo, has been with TPS since 1999, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal before moving to district administration. He attended tonight's meeting.

In other news, the board lashed out at a Ohio House of Representatives' proposal that could allow a state takeover of Toledo Public Schools and eight other districts for their data-reporting practices.

Language inserted into the state budget by the Ohio House would give the superintendent of public instruction authority to sack boards of education "for any school district that is found by the Auditor of State to have knowingly manipulated student data with evidence of intent to deceive."

In a unanimously approved resolution, the board called the legislation "inappropriate," saying it misuses current laws for state takeovers of school districts, provides no way to judge if the auditor's findings are accurate, and says there is already state law that provides a way to sanction those who improperly report school data.

The school board also approved a resolution directing administrators to apply again for a $13 million federal Head Start grant when it goes back out for bids later this spring. The local grant - currently held by the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo - was one of dozens that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put up for competition for the first time, but the department announced earlier this month that none of the local applicants, which included EOPA and Toledo Public Schools, had won.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.