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Judge issues injunction for fired Prince George's, Maryland, superintendent

Associated Press

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A state judge issued a temporary injunction late Sunday that delayed the firing of Superintendent Iris T. Metts by the Prince George's County School Board.

The 10-day injunction, issued by Chief Circuit Court Judge William Missouri, prevents the school board from removing Metts, a former Delaware secretary of education, until further hearings can be held regarding her dismissal.

Metts plans to appeal her dismissal today to state Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick. Metts maintains that the county school board cannot make an important personnel decision without consulting a state Management Oversight Panel named in 1999 to solve the county's education problems.

The board had voted 6-3 Saturday to remove the controversial head of Maryland's largest school district after a contentious 21/2-year term that was marked by infighting between panel members and Metts.

The board wanted to install an interim superintendent today, but Missouri's ruling will make that impossible.

Metts' attorney, Stuart Grozbean, asked the court to issue the injunction because, he argued, the board had overstepped its authority by firing Metts without approval from a state advisory panel.

Lawyers for the school board told the court they acted legally and that under Metts' contract they have the authority to dismiss her.

Late Sunday, board chairman Kenneth Johnson said his interpretation of Missouri's ruling was that the board was allowed to fire Metts, but must first give her 45 days notice under state law.

"We already know what the next step is," said Johnson. "We are going to issue the 45-day notice."

In an interview Sunday after the judge's ruling, Grozbean said the ruling means the board cannot "unilaterally terminate" Metts without approval from Grasmick.

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