If School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is offered a job in Philadelphia and accepts it, it still may be a while before he heads north.

According to Hite’s four-year contract, he has a 120-day notice provision that prevents him from doing what his predecessor did – make an abrupt exit.

(Linda Davidson/TWP)

School Board Chairman Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) said the provision was added to help the board have a smooth transition and the board is inclined to use it, if it has to.

“Should the superintendent desire to terminate his employment, he must provide the board one hundred and twenty (120) days written notice unless the board and the superintendent agree to a longer or shorter period of time in writing,” the contract reads. “Should the superintendent fail to provide the notice required by the provision or otherwise agreed to by the board, the superintendent shall forfeit receipt of the severence benefit.”

Hite said this week that it was “too soon to talk about” the 120-day notice or the what-ifs, since he hasn’t been offered a job.

But, Hite said if he does leave he will “make sure this school system doesn’t miss a beat at the beginning of the school year.”

Hite is one of two finalists for the school superintendent job in Philadelphia. He met with residents and city and school officials on Tuesday as part of the interview process.

“As much as it was for them to get to know me, it was about me getting to know them,” Hite said Wednesday during an interview at a golf tournament raising funds for the county public schools.

Hite has worked in Prince George’s since 2006, and took over as interim superintendent when John E. Deasy resigned in 2008. He has had one of the longest tenures in recent memory.

Since 1999, no superintendent or acting chief has served more than four years. Most have served about two years. Deasy left in 2008 after two years to take a position at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Andre J. Hornsby, who was hired in 2003, resigned in 2005 during a corruption scandal. He was convicted and is serving time in prison.