The Warwick School Department has closed an ugly chapter with the announcement this past Saturday of an agreement signed by the School Committee and Superintendent Peter P. Horoschak that formally states the 72-year-old Horoschak has retired.
As was the case in September, when the superintendent was placed on administrative leave and told not to go on school property without explanation, his retirement is likewise cloaked in secrecy. While the committee issued the news release, no notice of a committee meeting was posted, although apparently members have consented to the agreement. His retirement is expected to be acted on at a future committee meeting.
That aside, the parties agreed not to make any further statements, which presumably include any financial considerations concerning Horoschak’s to leaving the post before his 3-year contract expires in July. Presumably, too, the department has the resources to pay for such an agreement, although, since the terms of the agreement are not public, we don’t know how much will have to be taken from where in the school budget.
Also left unanswered is, if the committee was unsatisfied with Horoschak’s performance, why they did not review with him, as required by contract, his performance and inform him there would not be a renewal in July? Now, after almost four months, the parties release a statement praising his leadership in difficult financial times, and the fact that in the last three fiscal years the department has posted surpluses. It further notes that he ably guided the system through the consolidation of schools in response to declining enrollment.
It all sounds good, leading us to the conclusion that, while the committee was not satisfied with Horoschak’s performance, he did not do something that deserved such seemingly callous treatment.
That’s behind us now, and the committee can focus on the challenges before Warwick schools. On the top of that list would be naming a superintendent.
Richard D’Agostino, director of special education, has served as acting superintendent since Horoschak’s banishment and he appears to have found a groove and has recently revitalized the committee studying facilities and how the department should respond to declines in enrollment. D’Agostino may be the right man for the job.
Nonetheless, we feel the committee should conduct a search, and that incoming members Jennifer Ahearn and Karen Bachus be a part of the process. The school department needs someone at the helm who can manage the ship and hold a course for the future.