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Meeting on Easthampton superintendent abruptly canceled as virtual session hits limit on attendees

Vito Perrone, the interim school superintendent in West Springfield, interviewing for Easthampton's school superintendent job on March 23, 2023.
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Easthampton Media
Vito Perrone, the interim school superintendent in West Springfield, interviewing for Easthampton's school superintendent job on March 23, 2023.

The controversial school superintendent search in Easthampton, Massachusetts, is still unresolved. That's after a meeting Tuesday was abruptly canceled due to an access issue with the virtual session.

The school board rescinded its superintendent job offer to Vito Perrone, after he addressed the committee's chair and executive assistant as "ladies" in an email, according to Perrone.

Perrone is currently interim superintendent in West Springfield and formerly the principal at Easthampton High School.

A virtual meeting Tuesday night to discuss the situation was flooded with attendees, leaving many unable to log on. According to a video of the meeting recorded by Easthampton Media, some members of the school committee were unable to enter because the 300-person limit for the meeting software had been hit. This also left some members of the public out as well.

While the committee attempted to figure out what to do next, some members of the public who were able to enter the meeting grew frustrated, shouting that an in-person or hybrid meeting should be held. Insults were also hurled, seemingly between attendees and at the committee.

After a delay, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, who also sits on the school committee, said her legal counsel advised that "the AG [attorney general] has ruled under the regulations as they currently stand that under these circumstances the meeting should be canceled and rescheduled."

LaChapelle said it would not be difficult to expand access to a virtual meeting to 1,200, but how the meeting would be held would be up to the chair of the school board, Cynthia Kwiecinski.

On Wednesday evening, Kwiecinski replied to an NEPM inquiry to say she believed the meeting would be rescheduled to next Monday at 6 p.m.

"We are expanding our capacity so there won't be an issue," she said in an email. "We are using a much larger system and the Mayor and our city's Tech Administrator are still working out the details."

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.