Under an agreement announced Saturday, Peter P. Horoschak has retired as superintendent, thereby starting a process to find a new leader for the school system of about 9,400 students and 1,000 teachers.
Horoschak, whose 3-year contract expires this coming July, was abruptly placed on administrative leave in September without explanation. The terms of the agreement were not released and the 6-sentence statement mutually issued by the department and Horoschak said they “have agreed not to make any further comments regarding this matter.”
Reasons for the committee’s action in September, which, at the time, Horoschak said came as a surprise, were not disclosed. Also, the parties did not release any financial terms of the agreement.
Rather, the committee thanked, “Dr. Horoschak for his leadership during trying financial times for the school district. His experience assisted the district in consolidating elementary schools and in making very difficult decisions to reduce our staff. Despite budget reductions, during the past three years, the district has experienced budget surpluses. Academically, the district has continued to make overall progress.”
The statement closes wishing Horoschak “success in his future endeavors.”
Bethany Furtado, chair of the School Committee, could not be reached Monday or yesterday to address the question of whether and when the committee would conduct a search for a superintendent.
Rosemary Healey, legal counsel for the department and human resources director, said yesterday the committee has not instructed her on whether to conduct a search.
While the committee has not voted on Horoschak’s retirement, she is confident the committee would do so at a future meeting.
She would not say whether Horoschak, who had a contract to be paid $165,225, continues to be on the payroll.
Asked about a search, committee member Eugene Nadeau said, “I don’t know if that’s what we’ll do.”
Asked if Richard D’Agosinto, who has been serving as acting superintendent, would now be elevated to the position, Nadeau said, “I’m sure we can do what we want. That’s too much common sense.”
He added, “that is something Rosemary [Healey] will have to rule on.”
Nadeau said D’Agostino is “well respected and has his eye on everything.” He felt in particular that D’Agostino’s response to the massacre at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. was the right move. D’Agostino ordered that all elementary school doors be locked, including the front door. Until that time, the practice was to lock all but the front door where visitors had to be cleared. Now visitors must ring a bell and be let into the school.
Mayor Scott Avedisian said yesterday he was informed of Horoschak’s retirement on Saturday. He did not know if the committee would conduct a search for a superintendent.
Earlier this month, attorney Jeff Sowa and Healey had nothing to report on Horoschak’s status. Sowa, who represents Horoschak, said there hadn’t been any recent discussions and Furtado said the committee couldn’t take action until the matter of his contract was resolved.
Neither Sowa nor Horoschak could be reached for comment yesterday.
Speaking about Horoschak and his wife, Nadeau said, “They are honorable and decent people.”
Horoschak was picked to succeed Robert J. Shapiro, who retired in 2007 after serving the Warwick school system for 50 years. A graduate of West Point, Horoschak served as superintendent in six other districts in different parts of the country before coming to Warwick.