Hawlemont School Committee Members Vote to Absorb Rowe Elementary Students

After almost three weeks of uncertainty following an August 4th lightening strike — causing a fire severely damaging school in the town of Rowe, Massachusetts town, it’s now almost certain its students will attend school in a nearby district.

Emily Selva is from Rowe. She remembers how she felt when she found out she wouldn’t be returning to her school.

“Really sad. I was wondering where we were gonna go to school and stuff. And i didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Noel Abbott is chair of the Rowe Board of Selectman. He says soon after the fire, the principal of Hawlemont Elementary, in a town about 9 miles away, invited Rowe students to attend school there, which was their first choice.

“There was a certainty, there was a clarity and there was a clear aligned forward direction. The teachers were planning, materials were being brought into the Hawlemont school. The kids had a clear expectation.”

But, Abbott says, the offer disappeared last Thursday because of a personality conflict between Hawlemont School Committee members and a new appointee to Rowe‘s school committee. So Tuesday, Abbott joined about forty community members to urge the committees to reconcile their differences.

“Because we all want the same thing. and I would hope that this temporary glitch can be healed and healed quickly.”

And on Tuesday night, the rift was half solved.  The Hawlemont School committee voted 4 to 1 to move forward with a memorandum of understanding to work out the financial details of an arrangement allowing Rowe students to attend school in that district. The final decision now rests with the Rowe school committee at a meeting Thursday night.