After months of little public discussion, the Baltimore County school board voted Tuesday night to hire a firm to do a national search for a new superintendent.

The board used a piggyback contract to pick Ray and Associates, a firm known for handling searches for large school systems across the country, including a number in Maryland.

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The contract approved by the board would allow Ray and Associates to be paid up to $100,000 over the next several months.

The search will be done in a relatively short time compared with most superintendent searches, which begin in the late fall and must be completed in time for a new superintendent to be in place by July 1, as is required by state law.

Parents, teachers, administrators urge Baltimore County school board to fight for more budget funds

In a rare show of unity at the Baltimore County school board meeting Tuesday night, dozens of parents, teachers and administrators encouraged the school board to ask for what students need rather than the slimmed-down budget that meets the county executive’s fiscal limits.

Verletta White, the school system’s former chief academic officer, was made interim superintendent nearly two years ago, after Dallas Dance resigned because he was under investigation.

Dance was later convicted of four counts of perjury after filing false financial disclosure forms that did not acknowledge he did part-time consulting work. He served time in jail and was released last August.

The previous board attempted to hire White as a permanent superintendent last spring, but her appointment was blocked by Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon. White has expressed her continued interest in getting the permanent job.

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