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Cleveland Will Buy Out Rest of Tutela's Contract

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The Cleveland school board has voted to buy out the remaining 14 months of embattled Superintendent Alfred D. Tutela's contract for $330,000.

The board voted 6 to 1 to approve the buyout at its May 24 meeting, ending months of public bickering between the board and the superintendent that had embroiled the city's schools in conflicts that reached to the Ohio state capital.

Under the buyout plan, Mr. Tutela, whose annual salary had been $97,200, will receive a total of $7,476 in pay, $35,328 in accrued vacation pay, and $294,671 "for past service rendered and raises not granted."

Frank J. Huml, a deputy superintendent since 1985, was named as Mr. Tutela's successor.

The resolution authorizing the buyout said Mr. Tutela had agreed to the buyout's terms. Mr. Tutela could not be reached for comment.

The buyout decision marked the end of a prolonged standoff between the superintendent and the board that, at one point, had prompted the Ohio Department of Education to threaten a takeover of the district to ensure that its internal strife was not preventing court-ordered desegregation from taking place.

To avert the takeover, the board agreed earlier this year to a state request that it drop a resolution calling for Mr. Tutela's dismissal. Mr. Tutela, in turn, agreed to the state's request that he drop a lawsuit alleging that three current and one former board member had violated his free-speech rights. (See Education Week, March 7, 1990.)

Board members and city officials said last week that the contract buyout would enable the district to devote more energy to the task of attaining a variety of educational goals set at a May 22 "summit" on improving city schools.

Organized by Mayor Michael R. White, the summit drew about 700 people to the Cleveland Convention Center. Participants, who included parents, teachers, pupils, and representatives of social-service agencies, were asked as a show of community consensus to sign a "draft vision statement"on the schools.

The statement called for Cleveland schools to seek national recognition for academic excellence, equity, multi-racial and multi-ethnic diversity, and attractiveness to economic and neighborhood development.

Participants then broke intoworking groups to devise specific goals and strategies for reaching the goals.

They urged that, by the year 2000:

Every child in the city school system participate in a learning environment that responds to his needs and abilities while meeting internationally competitive standards.

All children up to the age of 8 have developmentally appropriate care, and all children eligible for Head Start, Title XX, and Chapter 1 be served by these programs.

Every school have in place a program designed to enhance self-esteem by providing a multicultural perspective to learning.

School buildings be year-round community assets, offering extended hours and community-based programs.

Christopher M. Carmody, a special assistant to the mayor, said the city plans to review progress toward meeting the summit goals in six months and to hold annual summits to review progress during the next decade.

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