Rowe, Hawlemont sign extension
Covers school-sharing agreement for 2 years
Kindergarten through second-grade Rowe Elementary School students listen to a story at the Hawlemont School in Charlemont on Wednesday.
Fifth- and sixth-grade Rowe Elementary School students use computers to research Washington, D.C., for a school trip at the Hawlemont School in Charlemont. From front to rear are destiny Wells, Ryan Burke, Zakary Miller, Gwyneth Clark and Grace Gokey.
CHARLEMONT — The Rowe and Hawlemont Regional School districts could keep sharing the Hawlemont school building for up to two more years, now that both school committees have OK’d a lease for Rowe that runs through June 2015.
After a fire destroyed the 50-year-old Rowe Elementary School in August, Hawlemont agreed to host Rowe for $74,032 this year.
Rowe is exploring the costs of building a new school, and several school officials would like to have one open by fall 2014. However, the town doesn’t vote on building a new school until this year’s annual town meeting. The town is already spending $250,000 to hire an architect to develop designs and cost estimates to be presented at annual town meeting.
The 2013-14 agreement raises Rowe’s lease to $86,532. Current Rowe School Choice students will be allowed to attend Rowe School at Hawlemont, and additional School Choice students can be enrolled, provided Rowe’s kindergarten through Grade 6 school enrollment does not exceed this year’s enrollment of 51 pupils.
In December, there were disagreements over how many School Choice students Rowe could take in, because both schools would be competing for School Choice students.
Hawlemont committee members said Rowe would have an advantage over Hawlemont in attracting School Choice students because it is a wealthier district.
Rowe school officials have been worried that, if School Choice enrollment drops below a critical level, the small school wouldn’t be sustainable.
The agreement requires Rowe to list the Hawlemont district on its town insurance policy, maintaining property insurance for contents, liability and workers compensation insurance for the Rowe staff.
The agreement for the 2014-15 school year stipulates that, if a new Rowe Elementary School is built, Rowe must notify Hawlemont by Feb. 1, 2014. And, if unforeseen circumstances prevent Rowe from occupying the new building by the date specified in Rowe’s notice to Hawlemont, Rowe can rescind its notice and extend this agreement until a new Rowe school is ready for occupancy.
You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277