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Mohawk, Hawlemont renew school heads without Rowe

BUCKLAND — The Mohawk and Hawlemont regional school district committees have negotiated and OK’d a new, four-year contract renewal with Superintendent Michael Buoniconti and Business Manager Joanne Blier. But the “three-district” shared superintendency agreement could become a “two-district” one unless Rowe renews the administrators’ contracts.

So far, the Rowe School Committee hasn’t said whether it wants to keep the superintendent who sparked so much controversy for letting go of a popular Rowe School principal two years ago.

Mohawk committee Chairman Robert Aeschback said Rowe School Committee members have been invited to all contract talks of the Three-District Personal Subcommittee, but have not participated in negotiations. Nor have they indicated whether they want to keep sharing the current administrators, he said.

“We regret that Rowe has chosen not to clarify its position and authorize its representative to act on behalf of the Rowe committee,” Aeschback said, in a news release. “However, given our need to move forward with these negotiations in a timely manner ... and Rowe’s continued refusal to discuss with us the Rowe Committee’s intentions, the Mohawk and Hawlemont school committees feel compelled to move forward.”

Now that contracts have been approved, Aeschback said Mohawk and Hawlemont will treat the contracts “as between only the Mohawk and Hawlemont” committees.

“Nothing in the contracts precludes Rowe from separately negotiating and executing renewal contracts if agreement can be reached between the Rowe committee and (each administrator),” he said.

The contracts don’t expire until July 2014, and when asked if Rowe plans not to renew its agreement with the administrators, Rowe Chairwoman Lisa Miller said the school board hasn’t yet discussed the issue.

“This is a very busy time for us,” she said. “We’ve been busy with the new school we want to build and the new Board of Selectmen. It’s been on our agenda for awhile, and it’s on our agenda for Thursday.”

The next Rowe School Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Rowe Town Hall.

Miller is married to Robert Clancy, the former 13-year Rowe principal who became principal of the Bernardston Elementary School after Buoniconti announced he would not renew Clancy’s contract with the Rowe School.

Last year, the Rowe Elementary School was destroyed by fire, and the students and staff have been functioning as “a school within a school” in a section of the Hawlemont Regional School building.

Although Buoniconti and Blier’s contracts don’t expire until next year, Aeschback said the districts could lose both administrators, if they started job-hunting this summer, when more jobs become available because other superintendents have retired or changed jobs.

“We thought we couldn’t wait,” he said. “We’re happy with them. ”

The new agreements for Buoniconti and Blier will run through June 2018, and they offer 2 percent raises annually, he said.

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

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