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Rowe superintendency decision likely from Berkshire union on Monday

ROWE — The North Berkshire School Union will meet Monday night to discuss — and possibly vote on — inviting the future Rowe Elementary School to share its superintendent services. Pending subsequent negotiations, this could put an end to Rowe’s 40 years of sharing administrators with the Mohawk and Hawlemont regional school districts.

The Berkshire School Union meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Gabriel Abbott Memorial School, 56 North Country Road, in Florida, off the Mohawk Trail.

On Feb. 20, the Rowe Elementary School Committee voted 2-1 to “go into negotiations” with the Berkshire School Union to share North Adams-based Superintendent Jonathan Lev and his office’s administrative services. The next day, Lev said he would be calling a school union meeting in March, to discuss Rowe’s joining the district. “I’m hoping we’ll have a decision by the end of that meeting,” he said in February.

On Friday, he said the only item on the school board agenda is to discuss the Rowe school board’s request to join.

“I’m expecting that a vote will take place,” he added. “We need to know, in order for us to finish our budgets.”

Rowe School Committee Chairwoman Lisa Miller said she is planning to go to the meeting. “As soon as they have a vote, we’ll schedule a meeting,” she said.

If the Berkshire School Union members invite Rowe to join, the next step would be for the school systems’ lawyers to draft a new regional agreement that includes Rowe, and spell out the costs to be divided by the member towns.

All three schools in the union — the Emma L. Miller Memorial School in Savoy (36 students), the Clarksburg Elementary School (186 students) and the Abbott Memorial School in Florida (115 students) — share a superintendent but are completely independent of each other. Students from Monroe go to the Florida school.

Rowe has about 60 students. Its 50-year-old elementary school burned down in 2012, after a lightning strike, and construction is underway on a new building. Meanwhile, the school is housed in a wing of the Hawlemont Regional School. Miller says the new school building is scheduled for an August opening.

Rowe’s superintendency agreement with Michael Buoniconti and School Business Administrator Joanne Blier expires in June.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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