Amid new tensions with the New Orleans school board, Anthony S. Amato announced last week that he plans to step down as the superintendent of the city’s schools on June 30.
The announcement, which came less than 2½ years after he was hired to fix the financially and academically struggling system, followed a stormy board meeting in which members blamed Mr. Amato for the district’s continuing fiscal plight.
In February, an audit questioned the district’s accounting of $70 million in federal Title I funds, prompting Louisiana education officials to press for a state takeover of the its financial management. (“State Vows to Fix Finances in New Orleans,” March 9, 2005.)
Mr. Amato and his supporters have argued that he inherited most of the problems, and that he has taken significant steps to resolve them. But at the April 11 meeting, a divided school board passed resolutions criticizing his handling of the issue.
During Mr. Amato’s tenure, state lawmakers approved legislation giving the New Orleans superintendent sweeping power over the 70,000-student district. (“State Law Tips Power Toward New Orleans Schools Chief,” June 23, 2004.)
Given the continuing divisiveness on the school board, Mr. Amato said in a statement last week that his departure was “best for the children that I came here to serve,” adding, “I sincerely believe that the city knows that it must change our schools and change the culture that has prevented them from being everything that they can be.”