After delaying for months, the Baltimore City school board voted to give its long-serving CEO, Sonja Santelises, an unusually short contract — just one year — despite her request for a longer term.

The action at a school board meeting Wednesday night comes after months of speculation about what was holding up her contract negotiations.

The board voted 8-1 in favor of the contract but gave no details of the deal. The only member to vote against the contract was the vice chair, Shantell Roberts. She made no comment about her vote and left the board room before the end of the meeting.

“We remain committed to collaborating with you and all stakeholders as we work to improve outcomes for each of our children and families,” the chair, Ronald McFadden, said. When asked why the board had given Santelises just one more year, he declined to elaborate.

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Santelises first thanked the board and then thanked her staff and family. “I want to thank city schools just for the work that has led us to the point where we do see an increased trajectory of outcomes for young people, but we still have a good amount of work before us.”

Board member Andrew Coy said he was relieved there was a contract agreement despite there being a diversity of opinion on the board. “It certainly was giving me a lot of anxiety because, like in the school year, I have not had this concluded yet.”

Santelises did not get a raise. She will continue to earn $349,989 for the next year. She is also required to supply the board with a transition plan before her departure.

After the board meeting, Santelises said she respected the role of the board in deciding who would lead the system. “Clearly I wanted longer, but the main focus now is that we maintain some continuity,” she said. The lack of a contract was becoming a distraction in running the school system.

“Eight years has been an absolute gift,” she said of her tenure. “I love this town.”

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Last week at a hearing on the school budget, Baltimore City councilmembers pushed McFadden to work quickly on a contract to keep Santelises, whose term expires June 30.

“We have seen what happened when there is a lack of continuity. I think that it is extremely important that you get a contract, that it be a fair contract and that we manage what will be an extremely important moment in our city,” Councilmember Zeke Cohen told Santelises.

Mayor Brandon Scott, who has been a supporter of Santelises, said at a press briefing last week: “We have to have stable leadership.”

In eight years in the job, Santelises has been one of the few top city leaders with longevity. She has worked with a rotating cast of mayors, police chiefs and health commissioners but has stayed, saying she was not interested in becoming a superintendent in another school district. She is one of the longest-serving urban superintendents in the country and is credited with gains in test scores, attendance and graduation rates.

McFadden has declined repeatedly to discuss the negotiations or explain why they were taking so long. Sources said last month that Santelises had wanted to stay 2 1/2 years but that the board was offering her a one-year contract. Those sources said McFadden had not shared details of the negotiations with all other board members.

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Maryland superintendent contracts must be four years, except in Baltimore, but even in the city it is rare for a contract to be shorter.

In addition, superintendent contracts are usually negotiated and finalized in March or April to provide stability for the school system or allow time for a transfer of leadership. When boards hire a new superintendent, the process usually begins in early January. McFadden and other board members have not explained why they decided not to follow the usual practice.

Santelises said this week that the decision was up to the board but that she had made her desire for a new contract clear. “We’re still working. I think folks are pretty clear where I am. The time is drawing nigh,” she said Tuesday morning.

Although Baltimore’s mayor does not decide who will lead the school system, he does appoint nine of the 12 school board members. Two members are elected, and one is a student member elected by city students. Scott will have the opportunity to appoint five new board members after July 1.

His new appointments could influence what direction the board takes in replacing or keeping Santelises after next year.

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Santelises, 56, came to the school system in 2016 after it had three leaders in four years. She had formerly been the chief academic officer, and her most extensive work as the CEO has been to improve academics. Within a year she began switching the literacy curriculum to one that was based on the science of reading, a change that appears to have paid off with higher scores on the annual Maryland assessments.

Graduation rates have improved even as the state’s rate declined slightly. In addition, she has reinstated school sports, added classes in arts and music, and increased access to advanced courses in high schools.

“We are very blessed to have you in the city of Baltimore,” Councilmember Eric Costello told Santelises at the hearing last week. “While city schools may not be perfect and you may not be perfect, you have provided a very steady hand of leadership over an extended period of time, longer than most city school districts in the entire nation. You are someone who is sought after nationally.”