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Superintendent Terry Grier has repeatedly stressed that he was not offered a job with the Houston schools, nor has he accepted one. If you’ve been watching that video of Grier shaking hands with school board members in Houston, you might be thinking: Huh?

It comes down to a quirk in Texas law that makes school boards wait three weeks between announcing a final candidate and signing a contract. That’s why folks like Lani Lutar from the Taxpayers Association and technology booster Matt Spathas are still pushing for him to stay. It isn’t final.

“I don’t have a contract with Houston. I do have a contract with San Diego,” Grier said.

So Grier can say he wasn’t offered a job — even though we all know that Houston has picked him as their main man. It’s kind of like waiting until the papers are signed to say that you’re getting divorced, even though you’ve already moved out of the house. And he can say that he was only a finalist as of Thursday even though the Houston Chronicle saw documents negotiating his salary over the weekend.

I asked Grier: Isn’t negotiating a salary a sure sign that you’re a finalist? Wouldn’t that be a good sign that it was time to tell the school board about it, as his contract requires him to do? Grier said no.

“What we don’t know is how many other people they were talking to,” Grier told me in a telephone interview from Houston.

Grier also said that when he waved off rumors about being interviewed for the Houston job, he was still trying to decide what to do and had not, in fact, been interviewed for the job.

“They’d been calling me about the Houston job for weeks,” he said. “I kept saying no.”

EMILY ALPERT

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