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San Diego Unified Braces for Leader’s Decision

— San Diego Unified School Superintendent Terry Grier has about three weeks to consider whether he wants to stay in San Diego or accept an offer to become superintendent in Houston.

It was late last week when the Houston school board unanimously named Grier to be the new superintendent there. But now Houston schools and Grier must abide by a three week grace period until an official contract is offered and accepted.

That delay leaves San Diego Unified uncertain about its own future. The board discussed possible options with Grier in a closed door meeting on Monday.

San Diego School Board president Shelia Jackson says if Grier does take the deal, he could resign and be on his way soon after the school year starts on September 8th.

However Jackson says San Diego Unified might be able to negotiate with Grier to keep him a bit longer.

“Mid-September is a crucial time in the school year,” Jackson said. “So it might not be to our best interest to just say 'OK, I know Houston you want him now, but maybe we need to negotiate for him to stay a little bit longer.'”

Houston's school year started on Monday, and district officials are eager to get Grier in place as soon as possible. If Grier leaves sooner rather than later, San Diego Unified's emergency superintendent succession plan means the next person in line would be Deputy Superintendent Chuck Morris.

But San Diego Unified school board members insist it's not a done deal just yet.

They, as well as a group of education advocates in San Diego, are still holding out hope that Grier will reconsider. They're writing letters and signing petitions urging the superintendent to stay.

School board trustee Katherine Nakamura, who is a Grier supporter, believes those actions will have an impact.

“I think anytime a community comes together and talks about the importance of education, and who the leader in the educational system is, I think makes a difference,” Nakamura said.

Grier is expected to make a final decision in about two weeks.

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