Montgomery County School Superintendent Charles M. Bernardo, who has declared in recent months he would stay on the job despite efforts to oust him, now is negotiating the terms of his departure, according to Board of Education members.

Bernardo, through his attorney, Joseph D'Erasmo, has told the board he is willing to leave before Oct. 1, the date a court has ruled the board may replace him, sources said. The price he is asking is 17 months of his salary, or about $75,000, according to board members who asked not to be identified.

Asked to comment on these assertions, Bernardo replied, "no comment." Some board members said negotiations are continuing, but none would be identified by name. "The lawyers are handling it," said one.

Bernardo acknowledged last week that he has applied for the job of school superintendent in Broward County, Fla., which has the 11th largest school system in the country. Fort Lauderdale is the Broward County seat.

He also said then he is considering other opportunities, but "my first choice is still the job I currently hold."

The majority of the newly elected school board is pledged to oust Bernardo and filed a suit that resulted in a Circuit Court decision March 29 invalidating a new four-year contract given him by the old board last summer. Bernardo's original contract expires Oct. 1.

Bernardo is appealing that court decision

During last fall's campaign, the 41-year-old superintendent became a target of conservative candidates who went on to win election to the board.