Board reaches a decision on Venter, delays its release


The Howard County school board has reached a decision in the case involving Bruce M. Venter, who appealed his firing as the school system's chief business officer, but it won't be released for a couple of weeks.

The school board is waiting until its attorney puts the decision in writing before releasing it to Venter, Courtney Watson, the school board chairman, said yesterday.

"Their decision and the reasoning will be available at the same time," said Venter's attorney, Allen Dyer. "That's a fair thing for them to do."

The school board almost didn't hear Venter's appeal late Monday evening because of legal disagreements over whether the hearing should be open or closed to the public. After Venter agreed to drop efforts to have the proceedings open to the public, the school board met behind closed doors for two hours.

The school board continued its deliberations Wednesday night before making a decision.

Venter was fired in September last year by then-Superintendent John R. O'Rourke for issues stemming from the construction of the county's 12th high school, Marriott's Ridge, which is scheduled to open next fall. Venter has said his termination was arbitrary.

Meanwhile, a decision on a student disciplinary appeal could be released as early as today, Watson said.

The school board heard oral arguments Monday in the case involving a former Folly Quarter Middle School pupil accused of providing vodka to another student during a bus ride to school in the spring.

Philip Ashtianie, a freshman at River Hill High School, appealed his 45-day suspension. He waived his confidentiality rights, allowing the proceedings to be open to the public.

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