"As far as his efforts and cooperation and help with the board, he's done a good job. Where he's had problems is with his style and people skills," Smith said. She noted that last year the school system's teachers brought the board a vote of no confidence in the superintendent, who has held the job since July 1, 1995.
Smith said the petition drive had no effect on how she voted, but added, "It was certainly something you couldn't ignore."
"I think it's time to move forward," board President Douglas Michael said Wednesday.
"My position has been based on what's happened in the last two years, not the last three months," Michael said. He said many of those who signed the petitions "really didn't know the situation and didn't know what they were signing, because we called them."
"He's a very forceful person, but there's a lot he's accomplished," Michael said of Montgomery.
Board member Larry Omps praised Montgomery's "ability to organize and get things done and inform the board and he did that well." He also said the petition had no bearing on his vote.
"We posted it because sometimes a change is necessary to move forward without laying blame or pointing fingers," Omps said. He said the board has supported Montgomery and will continue to do so as long as he remains superintendent.
Montgomery's three-year contract expires July 1. The board has yet to set a deadline for accepting applications, but must appoint a superintendent by May 1 with an effective date of July 1.
Smith said if no decision is made by May 1, the board can only offer a one-year contract to an applicant after that date.
Nina Schwartz of Berkeley Springs presented the petitions to the board at meetings in December and on Jan. 6.
"I would hope they know how a great portion of the public feels," Schwartz said Wednesday.