Cleveland Schools Chief Exec Will Talk With NYC Mayor

CLEVELAND (AP) - The top official of the Cleveland public schools will meet this weekend with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a discussion about the school chancellor's job there.

Bloomberg's invitation was extended last week, a member of Barbara Byrd-Bennett's staff said. Bloomberg is searching for a new leader for the nation's largest school system.

Byrd-Bennett, a New Yorker who came to Cleveland in 1998 from a top job in the New York system, has for months been rumored to be a candidate.

The meeting with Bloomberg 3/8 concerns the New York position, said Lisa Marie Ruda, Cleveland schools chief of staff who was speaking on Byrd-Bennett's behalf.

Byrd-Bennett (pictured with student, above) felt compelled to accept an invitation to talk to Bloomberg about the job, Ruda said.

Byrd-Bennett has told Cleveland school board members and Mayor Jane Campbell about the coming interview.

"Her interest remains, her priorities remain, in Cleveland," Ruda said.

Bloomberg was given control of New York City schools on June 6 and has said he wants to have a new chancellor on the job by September. His office has declined to comment on the job search.

The New York opening comes just weeks after attorneys representing Byrd-Bennett and the Cleveland school board began meeting to discuss her new contract. Her current contract expires Dec. 31.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)