According to sources, the School Committee voted in executive session Tuesday not to extend the contract of Superintendent Peter Horoschak. Also, while it could not be confirmed, the committee reportedly is looking to buy out the remaining months of Horoschak’s three-year contract that expires July 14, 2013.
The committee met in executive session to review the contract in late August. The base salary listed in the contract is $165,225.
Asked a couple of weeks ago about that session and whether he knew what had taken place, Horoschak said at the time that he expected to appear before the committee and there would be a discussion about his performance.
Yesterday, Horoschak said that meeting was never held but he did receive a letter. He did not disclose the contents of the letter other than to say, “they don’t intend to go public with it.”
“I have nothing to say about it,” he said.
He has had no meetings with the committee regarding his contract.
“What you’re hearing are rumors,” said School Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Maloney. He did not find that extraordinary “since we’re reaching the point where we renew the contract or not.”
Horoschak followed in the footsteps of Robert J. Shapiro who retired in 2007 after a 50-year career in Warwick schools. Shapiro died last Thursday at the age of 81.
The styles of the two superintendents were markedly different.
Shapiro lived and breathed Warwick schools, not only attending school events whether in the city or elsewhere, but also city and state meetings to represent school interests.
Horoschak has not been as visible nor has he kept the city administration in the loop on developments as Shapiro did on almost a daily basis. During Horoschak’s tenure, in response to declining enrollments, the committee has closed several elementary schools but postponed study of the closure of one or more of the city’s six secondary schools.
Also, during his tenure, the department incurred two deficit budgets, which the city was required to cover. Those payments were later refunded to the city when the department logged a “surprise” surplus of almost $7 million.
The superintendent’s contract appeared on the agenda for this Tuesday’s executive session. And in compliance with open meetings regulations, the committee reported out that a vote had been taken. But it did not indicate the action of the committee, which it is not required to do.
Reached yesterday, Committee Chairwoman Bethany Furtado said what was discussed in executive session was a “personnel matter” and therefore not public. She would neither confirm nor deny that the vote pertained to a review of Horoschak’s contract. The vote reported out of committee was 3-0. Two members of the committee were not present.
Horoschak was selected for the post after an extensive search that concluded with a public interview of the top three candidates in the spring of 2007.
At the time, Horoschak was superintendent of the South Orange Maplewood School District in New Jersey. He previously served in school administrative posts in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Shaker Heights, Ohio; Pittsford, N.Y.; Stamford, Conn.; and Albuquerque, N.M.