Chicopee officials postpone decision on new school superintendent

After two rounds of close votes, the Chicopee School Committee did not chose a superintendent.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 9:58 PM EST
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CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - New information has emerged into the search of a new Chicopee school superintendent, who will permanently replace former superintendent Lynn Clark after she was arrested last year.

After two rounds of close votes, the Chicopee School Committee did not chose a superintendent. Instead, the committee will reconvene at a later time.

A decision also almost faced a major setback. Sandra Peret, who is on the selection committee, began the meeting with a motion to postpone and possible restart the selection process due to a potential conflict of interest from one committee member.

“Does his conflict of interest taint to the public the superintendent search?...So I ask, should we vote tonight for the superintendent? Should we repost the position?” Peret asked.

After some deliberation, the committee voted 7-to-4 to continue the process.

Nearly 20 people applied for the position of Chicopee school superintendent and after narrowing the search down to three finalists earlier this month, the Chicopee School Committee gathered Tuesday night with the intention of picking a candidate. However, it was decided to postpone the voting until a later date.

Throughout the night’s deliberations, members of the committee were split on which candidate would best serve the Chicopee school district.

“This is probably one of the most important decisions we will make as a school committee, I’ll say, in 2023…I can say that there are many words,” said Chicopee Mayor John Vieau.

“I get the feeling that we have a wonderful candidate for superintendent in Dr. Ware,” Peret added.

The search follows the dramatic exit of former Chicopee Public School Superintendent Lynn Clark. Clark is accused to lying to the FBI about sending threatening text messages to the Chicopee police chief candidate in November 2021. She first told authorities she also received threatening text messages from an unknown number, but Clark later admitted to sending those messages to her herseslf, according to federal investigators

Clark pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court February 28. If convicted, Clark could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The school committee has not officially picked a date for their next meeting, but it must take place at least 48 hours from tonight’s meeting in compliance with open meeting laws.