Easthampton community members launch petition to recall school committee chair

Their outrage stems from the committee’s controversial and so-far failed attempt to choose a superintendent.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 10:27 PM EDT
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EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Frustrated Easthampton community members organized Monday to oust their district’s school committee chair.

Western Mass News spoke to Easthampton residents, who are frustrated at how the school committee has handled their superintendent search. One woman told us that the best way to move forward is without one prominent school committee member.

The group of volunteers collected signatures Monday evening with the goal of ousting the Easthampton School Committee chair, Cynthia Kwiecinski. Their outrage stems from the committee’s controversial and so-far failed attempt to choose a superintendent.

The search has drawn national attention,as well, after the first job offer was rescinded over the candidate’s use of the term “ladies” when addressing Kwiecinski and the committee’s executive assistant.

Organizer Cathy Wauczinski told Western Mass News the group submitted a petition with more than 400 signatures to the city clerk last week. Now, they will need more than six times that number in order for the recall process to continue.

According to Easthampton City Clerk Barbara Labombard, the minimum number the group needs is 2,517, which is 20% of registered voters from the last city election. It is a number that Wauczinski believes is achievable.

“I am very optimistic and I am very excited at the outpouring of support of people stopping to sign, offer support, and ask how they can help,” she said.

Wauczinksi told us that if they are able to hit their target number of signatures and they are verified by the city clerk’s office, Kwiencski would have five days to resign. However, Wauczinksi said that she hopes it does not get to that point.

“I would actually ask Cynthia to resign so we don’t have to finish this process and we don’t have to continue putting the city through this stressful time,” Wauczinski told us. “I think we need more people on the committee with a more balanced view of what the city wants.”

This process comes as the school committee looks to fill two positions, which opened up amidst the controversy after 2 members quit. Wauczinski is one of the candidates in the running to fill one of those open seats.

The group has until June 8th to collect all 2,500 signatures.

We reached out to Kwiecinski for comment, but have not heard back at this time.