No renewal:The Baltimore school board announced Thursday...


No renewal:

The Baltimore school board announced Thursday it had decided, unanimously, not to offer Baltimore school Superintendent Richard C. Hunter a new contract when the current three-year pact expires July 31.

On Wednesday, Mayor Kurt Schmoke leveled sharp criticism at the superintendent and said he had asked the board to not renew Hunter's $125,000-a-year contract. The mayor said he would not seek to fire Hunter, though he said he would welcome the superintendent's immediate resignation.

Hunter said in a statement, "I am shocked and saddened by the recent action of the mayor." He said he still plans to serve out his term.

About 20 members of the city's PTA council voiced their unanimous support for Hunter Wednesday.

George N. Buntin Jr., executive director of the NAACP's Baltimore chapter, last Monday said Schmoke should retain Hunter for the sake of stability, but Buntin said the group would not oppose the mayor's recommendation.

Irene Dandridge, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, said Hunter dragged his feet on the issue of school restructuring, and she faulted the superintendent's aloof management style and his practice of delegating a great deal of authority to subordinates. The Bush administration Tuesday backed away from a ruling that colleges receiving federal funds may not award scholarships based solely on race. It said colleges will be allowed to give such scholarship as long as federal funds are not used.

* On Monday, the president selected Lamar Alexander, president of the University of Tennessee and a former two-term governor of that state, as the new secretary of education.

'I resign':

Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze announced Thursday that he was resigning in a stunning appeal to the Congress of People's Deputies to deny long-time ally President Mikhail Gorbachev the broader powers he seeks.

"Dictatorship is gaining ground. The reformers have left the stage. No one knows what kind of dictatorship there will be and who will be the dictator," Shevardnadze told the deputies. "I resign," he said. ". . . Let it be . . . my protest against the advance of dictatorship." The United States, declining to shield its ally, Thursday supported a United Nations Security Council resolution deploring Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calling for U.N. monitoring of their safety. The vote was unanimous among the 15-member council. In a separate, non-binding statement, the council agreed that a properly timed and structured international conference should be held to facilitate a lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The U.S. vote was viewed as an effort to reinforce Arab commitment to the U.S.-led multinational coalition arrayed against Iraq.

Saddam warned:

The Pentagon warned Saddam Hussein Thursday that U.S. air power will be ready to attack Iraq even if all ground forces are not ready for war by the Jan. 15 deadline imposed by the United Nations for him to get out of Kuwait.

The statement came from a top aide to Defense Secretary Richard Cheney after Lt. Gen. Calvin A.H. Waller, second in command of Operation Desert Shield, said American ground troops might not be ready to fight Iraq until a month or more past the United Nations deadline.

* For the first time in nearly three decades, it was reported last week, the Army is searching out military retirees -- especially those with medical skills -- and forcing them back into uniform. An Army planner said last Monday that an initial call-up of 15 retired physician assistants had been approved, and about 200 other retirees probably would be involuntarily recalled for active duty over the next month.

Electric rates going up:

If you're a typical residential electric customer using 600 kilowatts of power each month, you can expect to pay almost $3 more on your monthly bill, starting in January.

And when the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. starts running its new, coal-fired Brandon Shores 2 generator in Pasadena next summer, the utility will tack on another rate increase almost as large.

The two increases approved last Monday by the Maryland Public Service Commission total $149 million, the largest electric rate increase ever for BG&E.;

BG&E; officials said the money is needed to meet the rising costs of operations and maintenance, transmission line construction and improvements at the company's troubled Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby.

Action, reaction:

After nearly a year of hearings and study, state Insurance Commissioner John A. Donaho ruled that territorial rating, the practice that allows insurance companies to base rates on where a driver lives, is legal and has a valid foundation. Territorial rating has been a hot issue because of the disparity in rates between Baltimore and other parts of the state.

Baltimore City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, angered by the decision, said last Monday that her consumer group, Baltimore Fair Auto Insurance Rates, would challenge the ruling in court, and she urged that Gov. William Donald Schaefer fire Donaho.

For the record:

Philanthropist Morton K. Blaustein, 64, the son and grandson of the founders of Amoco Oil and chief executive officer of the American Trading and Production Corp., died last Monday night after choking on food while eating at a hotel in Richmond, Va.

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