At this point, Peter Horoschak is still under contract as superintendent of schools and is being paid, although he has not set foot on school property since Sept. 14 when he was advised he was on administrative leave.
That’s about all the public is being told, although there is reportedly some behind-the-scenes lobbying for who will be the next person to lead Warwick schools and plenty of speculation as to how everything will play out. The committee has not issued a statement outlining the reason for its action that came on a 3-0 vote in an executive session.
In the meanwhile, Richard D’Agostino, director of special education, is being viewed as more than an acting superintendent, the position to which he was named after the committee acted, by committee member Patrick Maloney.
“He’ll hold the position until we’re [the committee] able to move in another direction,” he said yesterday. “I don’t look at him as temporary. He’s the leader right now.”
Maloney said the issue of the superintendent was discussed during Tuesday’s committee meeting in executive session. He said the situation continues to be considered a personnel matter and for that reason is being discussed privately.
“The employee has rights and we want to see they are protected under the law,” he said.
Maloney said school human resources director and counsel Rosemary Healey is representing the committee and that the department has been in contact with Jeffrey Sowa, who is representing Horoschak. Maloney would not say whether Sowa met with the committee Tuesday in executive session.
Reached about a week ago, Horoschak referred all questions about his situation to Sowa. Sowa could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mayor Scott Avedisian was not aware of any developments yesterday.
He said he has spoken with School Committee Chair Bethany Furtado, adding, “I have full confidence in what she is doing, but I feel as though the School Committee needs to make some public comments about what is going on.”
He said, “Explaining Horoschak's status, time frames for next steps, etc., would be helpful in settling some of the concerns that have been raised.”
Maloney said he liked what D’Agosinto had to say during the public portion of Tuesday’s meeting.
“He has initiatives. They are broad goals for now, but I’m sure he will have very specific actions.”
In his comments, D’Agostino thanked the School Committee, for having confidence in him to lead the school department, as well as faculty, staff and other supporters for assisting him in a “seamless transistion.”
D’Agostino said when asked about the position, he said he had three goals for the school department: improve communication, trust people to do their jobs and establish teamwork, which he called “an important ingredient in the education field.”
“If we have these [components], then we have the equipment to address any challenges in the future, such as declining enrollment, rising gas, fuel and technology costs and attending to special needs of students,” D’Agostino said, adding he’s tired of employing a Band-Aid approach and the department needs to go beyond that.
D’Agostino finished by saying he would like to see the Long Range Planning Committee develop a five-year plan for the future of Warwick schools, and he wants input on the committee from the community as well as the city.
With reports from Matt Bower.