The Prince William County School Board declined by a split vote a two-year extension of Superintendent Steve Walts' contract, currently set to expire in June 2021.
Those who voted against pointed to elections in November when the chair and five other seats on the board will be contested.
In a 4-4 vote on Wednesday, Chair Babur Lateef and board members Diane Raulston, Neabsco; Justin Wilk, Potomac; and Loree Williams, Woodbridge, voted to extend the contract two additional years.
School board members Gil Trenum, Brenstville; Willie Deutsch, Coles; Lillie Jessie, Occoquan; and Alyson Satterwhite, Gainesville, voted against extending Walts' contract. Satterwhite is challenging Lateef in the board chair race in November.
Satterwhite said she voted against the extension, because she thinks the decision should be up to the new school board after November's election.
"They haven't gotten to know Dr. Walts like we have and we should give them a chance to know him and develop that working relationship," she said. "It's no way a message to Dr. Walts. To me, it's strictly about the next board."