- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2002

After more than two years of protracted disagreements, the Prince George's County School Board voted 6-3 Saturday to fire Superintendent Iris T. Metts, and agreed to begin immediate negotiations with her possible replacement who might begin as early as this week. However, despite that vote huge problems prevail. The board says Mrs. Metts' last day on the job is today, and the board plans to have security there to lock her out. Meanwhile, Mrs. Metts says she isn't budging. This is a grand mess, with distinct winners and losers.
State and local officials held a hastily called meeting yesterday to come to terms with what all is going on. On one hand, they argue, recently released test scores prove that the Prince George's school district still falls woefully short of academic expectations. On the other hand, many of these same officials admit that recent board decisions including one prohibiting Mrs. Metts from siging contracts worth more than $5,000 and another that questions her push for magnet schools undermine reforms.
For its part, the board blames Mrs. Metts (who it hired away from Delaware in June 1999, where she was secretary of education), state lawmakers (who instituted a school oversight panel, which has 20 underperforming P.G. schools on its takeover-watch list), and, tada, the media. This, by the way, is the same board that first tried to fire Mrs. Metts last July, but a motion fell one vote short. Furthermore, she offered to resign last week, but the board couldn't even agree on terms for her resignation.
Whoever prevails in today's dogfight if Mrs. Metts bothers to show up for work doesn't really matter. After all, the true losers of all are Prince George's students. Too bad the board doesn't seem to care.

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