Renee Foose, who resigned in May as Howard County's school superintendent after months of public feuding with her school board, was hired Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Foose's new job as an assistant superintendent for assessment, accountability and information technology will pay between $92,000 and $123,000, according to a description of her new position. The salary comes on top of nearly $1.65 million in salary and benefits Howard County agreed in May to pay Foose to persuade her to retire as schools superintendent. The payments represented more than what it would have cost the board to keep her for the remaining three years left on her contract.
In her new job she will oversee accountability and testing, a role similar to one she formerly held in Montgomery County before going on to work as a school administrator in Baltimore County and then becoming superintendent in Howard. Foose has worked in Maryland public schools for more than two decades. After serving as associate superintendent for Montgomery County public schools, she spent about a year in Baltimore County from 2011 to 2012 as the deputy superintendent. She also served as a principal in Montgomery and Washington counties. She was the first woman superintendent in Howard County.
The state school board voted Tuesday afternoon to approve Foose's hiring by Karen Salmon, the state school superintendent.
Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the state department of education, said department administrators would have no comment on the decision to hire Foose.
"It is something I am passionate about," Foose said of her new job. "I have talents in that area that I hope lend nicely with Dr. Salmon's vision,"
Foose said her salary and start date have not yet been set. Her payments from Howard County include pension benefits, and she will qualify for a second pension in her new state job.
A power struggle between Foose and the school board erupted after three new school board members were elected last fall on a platform opposing her. She was left with a minority of the board's support.
Foose eventually sued the school board, claiming, among other things, that they were trying to usurp her authority. Under a settlement reached with Howard County and signed May 2, Foose agreed to drop her lawsuit and each side agreed to cease making disparaging comments about each other. The terms of the settlement were criticized by legislators and parents at the time as being excessive and a waste of taxpayer money. Her opponents had said she was dictatorial and ignored issues that were important to parents.
The hiring of Foose by the state education department angered state Del. Warren Miller, a Howard County Republican.
"She received well over a million dollars. Now we are rewarding her with a state job?" he said. "I think the biggest issue is that this is someone who sued the taxpayers of Howard County. We never found out in court what would have happened. ….I think this is a tremendous liability for the state taxpayers."
Colleen Morris, president of the Howard County Education Association, said the teachers union is "disappointed that the state board didn't pay closer attention to what happened in Howard County."
"I don't understand how the state can hire her as their accountability superintendent when she had these accountability issues in Howard County," Morris said.
An earlier version misstated who from the state department of education indicated there would be no comment on Foose's hiring. The Sun regrets the error.