Anne Arundel County School Superintendent C. Berry Carter resigned last night after a school board investigation of his handling of allegations against former teacher Ronald W. Price, who was subsequently convicted of having sexual relations with students.

Board of Education President Thomas R. Twombly emerged after a five-hour closed-door board meeting in Annapolis and read this statement: "Mr. Carter tendered his resignation prior to board deliberation on his future with the school system. The board did not request Mr. Carter's resignation."

Carter, who had appeared before the board with his attorney earlier in the evening, left without making a statement.

Twombly said the board will meet at 4 p.m. today to release part of the findings of Alan Baron, a lawyer hired by the board to examine Carter's handling of the school sex scandal. He said Carter's response to those findings will be released at the same time.

The figure at the center of the Anne Arundel school scandal was Price, 48, a social studies teacher, girls' softball coach and drama adviser at Northwest High School in Pasadena. On Oct. 14, Price was sentenced to 26 years in prison for having sexual relations with three female students.

Price was arrested in April and, before his conviction, appeared on national television talk shows saying that he had sex with seven students during his 24 years as a teacher.

Both at his trial and his sentencing, Price accused Anne Arundel school officials of ignoring his problems and tolerating a general atmosphere of sexual promiscuity among students and teachers.

Since Price's arrest, four other Anne Arundel teachers have been charged with sexual misconduct.

Superintendent Carter, 61, was placed on leave with pay on July 31 after the state Department of Education released a report concluding that he and other school officials mishandled allegations against Price as long ago as 1987.

After last night's school board meeting, Carter's attorney, William W. Cahill Jr., said Carter's "resignation is effective Monday and he retires, effective Monday."

It was unclear whether Carter, whose yearly salary is $93,000, would be compensated for the three years remaining on his employment contract. His pension eligibility was not spelled out.

Cahill said Carter, who worked for the school system for 38 years before becoming superintendent in July 1992, has long been eligible to retire.

School adminstrator Carol Parham, named acting superindent when Carter was suspended in July, will continue in that position while the school board looks for a permanent replacement for Carter.