School board members in Charlottesville, Va., want Dr. Kriner Cash to be their next school superintendent, and are negotiating right now to see if they can convince the leader of the Vineyard school system to head south.

"We'd really like to have him here, and we want to make it work," John Santoski, a Charlottesville school board member, told the Gazette yesterday.

Mr. Cash, who was hired as superintendent on the Island seven years ago, could not be reached for comment, but two weeks ago told the Gazette there are many attractive aspects of the job for which he was being considered.

Chief among them is the diversity of the school system where just over half of the 4,300 students are black. Mr. Cash also said he liked the idea of living in the city that is home to the University of Virginia and within two hours of Washington, D.C.

Before coming to the Island, Mr. Cash was associate dean at Howard University in Washington.

If Mr. Cash takes the job in Charlottesville, the school board there wants him in Virginia by July.

Yesterday, Ralph Friedman, chairman of the regional high school committee, said, "If he goes, we need to get into high gear awfully fast."

The starting pay for the Charlottesville job is $120,000 a year. Mr. Cash would earn $107,855 on the Vineyard this year, including bonuses.

School board members from Charlottesville spent much of last week on on a site visit to the Island, meeting with school staff and Mr. Cash.

Now they are certain they want Mr. Cash more than the other two candidates who made it to the final round of interviews. "He's our number one choice," said Mr. Santoski, "but we're still negotiating."

Mr. Cash, who is 47, was the youngest of the three finalists for the Charlottesville job. Also in the running was a local school official, assistant school superintendent of the county school system Jean Murray, who is 53. The other finalist was a deputy school superintendent from North Carolina, James Pughsley, 62.

Richard Merriwether, chairman of the school board in Charlottesville, told the Gazette that he hopes to have an answer from Mr. Cash within the next week. "We'd like to wrap it up," he said, "but Dr. Cash is very busy with his day-to-day work."