Seattle Schools Superintendent Raj Manhas, who has faced scorching criticism over plans to close several schools, said Friday he will step down when his contract expires next August.
"This is a personal decision I have made in the interest of my family," Manhas said at a news conference. "I believe I have fulfilled my responsibilities as superintendent."
Manhas has been loudly and vehemently criticized by parents in trying to erase a $35 million budget deficit in part by closing and consolidating schools. Earlier this year, the school board approved plans to shutter seven schools based on declining enrollment, but last week it killed Manhas' most recent school-closure recommendation.
Manhas also urged high school students to take city buses to cut down on transportation costs.
Manhas joined the district as chief operating officer in October 2001. Two years later he replaced Joseph Olchefske as superintendent.
School Board President Cheryl Chow wiped tears from her eyes following his announcement.
"He's done a spectacular job in my mind," she said. "We don't celebrate enough what we've done well."
— The Associated Press