Charles M. Bernardo, who was forced to resign as Montgomery County school superintendent in 1979 under fire from teachers and a conservative school board, told the Utah State Board of Education yesterday that he does not want the job of state superintendent of instruction there.
Bernardo's announcement followed reports that the Utah board, which named him to the job May 20, planned to vote a third time Monday on his selection after a majority "reconfirmed" his appointment May 27.
Jay Monson, board chairman, was unavailable for comment last night but has scheduled a press conference today to announce Bernardo's withdrawal. Controversy over Bernardo's appointment to the $63,000-a-year job focused on his tenure in Montgomery County and his business dealings since he left that post.
The original decision to hire him for the Utah job was made with little fanfare, but the board expressed concern about its selection after receiving phone calls from D.C. area people when news of Bernardo's appointment was printed here.
Bernardo said in a statement, read by his wife JoAnn, that he was "unwilling to submit my family to a tenuous circumstance characterized by the Utah scene." He said he will, instead, "take advantage of an alternate opportunity combining business and education, domestically and abroad."
Since leaving the Montgomery County school system, Bernardo, 44, has been a real estate investor and salesman, most recently in Florida, as well as an educational consultant.
A major factor in Bernardo's decision, according to his wife, was the treatment he received after his Utah appointment, which was to have been effective July 1. "He was not informed of the May 27 meeting prior to the meeting. . .He was not informed until after he had read about it in The Washington Post. That is not the way he works with boards of education and he expected to be treated in kind."