Editorial: Breaking up
Irreconcilable differences can end a marriage no matter how long it’s lasted.
The marriage between Rowe and the rest of the Mohawk Trail Regional School District has involved sharing living costs for some 30 years. And while the relationship between Rowe and the rest of the district has had its rocky moments, they all brought something to this union.
Last week’s decision by the Mohawk School Committee to put Rowe on notice that they were ending the three-district cost sharing agreement made the split official. That move, however, was set up by the earlier decision made by Mohawk Superintendent Michael Buoniconti and Joanne Blier, Mohawk’s business administrator, to tell Rowe they had no interest in extending their contracts when they expire in June.
If Mohawk was becoming increasingly exasperated with Rowe, then it’s also clear that without coming right out and saying so, Rowe was no longer interested in this arrangement. As Mohawk School Committee Chairman Robert Asechback explained, the Rowe School Committee was invited to be part of the negotiations with Buoniconti and Blier earlier this year, but chose instead to skip the meetings.
It may be there are those Rowe residents who see an appeal to being single just as there are residents from the Hawlemont Regional School District and Mohawk who are relieved that this particular relationship is over and who are ready to move on.
But, as with any divorce, there will be ramifications.
Rowe must now find a way to secure the services of a superintendent and business administrator. Those kind of jobs, when not shared with others, won’t come cheap.
And then there are the children ... the students.
The estranged partners are still going to be connected because of Mohawk’s junior and senior high schools. The town has been receiving a 10 percent tuition discount, while under the existing district agreement it has chipped in about 7 percent of the shared administrative costs. As Aeschback says, “The existing agreement is 31 years old now. I don’t care what side you’re on, it needs to reconsidered. I will always say that Rowe has always paid more than its share (for Mohawk), but we need to adjust the tuition minimally. That will be discussed this year.”
Let’s hope that any residual acrimony is left out of such conversations — for the sake of the children.