Despite requests by some D.C. school board members that he work at least a few more months, school Superintendent Vincent E. Reed confirmed yesterday that he definitely will be leaving his post on Dec. 31.
"I definitely plan to go out when I said I would," Reed told reporters yesterday after discussing his departure with D.C. school board president R. Calvin Lockridge. "There's nothing that's been said that's made me change my mind. . . . I've decided to take advantage of my retirement rights, and I plan to go through with it. Nothing (that board members said) has surprised me. It just reconfirmed to me that I should do it."
In his meeting with Reed, Lockridge suggested that the superintendent fo through with his retirement but then come back as acting superintendent until the school term ends in June. He said Reed could do this as a "re-employed annuitant" without losing pension rights. But Reed said he rejected the idea.
"If I left I would cut it clean," he said he explained, "and just not come back. I wouldn't play games like that."
Afterwards, Lockridge said the school board would hold a special meeting next Monday to pick an acting superintendent. He said the board also would establish a search committee to seek a permanent superintendent, who he hoped would be able to start work before school reopens in September.
At a school board meeting last night, at-large board member Barbara Lett Simmons said Reed's decision to resign had created "a situation in the city that has reached crisis proportions." But a motion by Simmons to discuss the resignation in open session failed.
By retiring before the new year, Reed, 52, is eligible for special early-out retirement benefits equal to half his current salary of $55,400. After Jan. 1, Reed can't get a pension until he turns 55. But in announcing his move last week he said it was prompted primarily by personal antagonism and feuding with some school board members who he said had taken away from him the day-to-day operation of the school system.
The announcement brought an outpouring of letters, phone calls, and newspaper, television and radio editorials in support of Reed.
Reed said he received another call yesterday from Mayor Marion Barry, asking him again to stay on, as well as a call of support from civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.
"I'm very touched by it all," Reed remarked, "and very appreciative. I've worked very hard this past five years. . . . We recognize the school system has many, many problems. We're not trying to fool anybody about that. But there's no doubt we have made some gains, though some members of the board may doubt that."
Reed said that he was particularly upset by board member John Warren, who said in a television interview Sunday that the "kinds of things (the board) asked for [from Reed] were not unreasonable," and that if Reed wanted the board to give them up in order to remain in office, "I would not be willing to make that concession."
Since Reed's resignation, some board members have complained that the superintendent was slow to respond to the board's requests and held back information about school affairs.
Reed said Warren has been "devious and demagogic" and over the years has been one of the board members who gave "inhumane treatment" to himself and his staff.