Schools Superintendent Eugene T. Reville is leaving Buffalo to become head the schools of Little Rock, Ark.
"I just got off the phone with Judge Henry Woods five minutes ago," Reville said today. "He said I would be appointed to the position for a three-year term. I intend to accept the position, subject to negotiations."
Speculation that Reville would be offered the position as "super superintendent" of Little Rock and two suburban school districts has been building for weeks.
U.S. District Judge Henry Woods was expected to make an announcement in Arkansas today, and he apparently did so from the bench following a midmorning hearing on a plan to integrate Little Rock's schools.
Reville said he would be traveling to Little Rock on Thursday to discuss the exact nature of his duties and to negotiate his salary. Reville earns $82,000 a year as Buffalo's superintendent.
"I expect they will need me as soon as possible," he said. But he said he wanted to give the Buffalo Board of Education enough time to make a decision on an acting superintendent, complete the fiscal year ending July 1 and make sure a new budget is in place before leaving.
The new school year in both New York and Arkansas is 14 weeks away.
Reville's departure crowns a 36-year career in the Buffalo Public Schools. He started as a teacher and rose through the ranks to become Buffalo's superintendent just as the city was beginning its own desegregation plan in 1975.
In January, the Buffalo Board of Education gave him a new six-year contract, running through 1995.
"I've had nothing short of a wonderful time in Buffalo," Reville said after accepting the offer in Arkansas. "I've had great support from the community, the board of education, the teachers and other staff members.
"Because of the community and their acceptance of integration, I think we've made history in Buffalo."
The search for a replacement for Reville in Buffalo could take as long as a year, the superintendent said. It will be the board's responsibility to name an acting superintendent.
Detroit lawyer Aubrey V. McCutcheon had recommended to the federal court in Arkansas the appointment of a metropolitan superintendent to tackle the job of integrating the area's schools.
McCutcheon and Reville have a long association. Reville has consulted on the Little Rock case and McCutcheon, who entered the Little Rock case after Reville, is special counsel to the Buffalo School Board in the desegregation case here.
The three school districts involved in the Arkansas case met today before Woods to outline their objections to McCutcheon's plan. They said they had wanted the court to appoint a monitor of desegregation who would work with them, rather than directly with the court.