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There are conflicting accounts over why Easthampton, Mass. superintendent candidate lost job offer

 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 head of the school committee in Easthampton, Massachusetts, said concerns with a candidate for school superintendent went well beyond his use of the term "ladies." The contender insists that's not what he was told.

Last week, the Easthampton School Committee rescinded its offer to Vito Perrone.

In a written statement, board chair Cynthia Kwiecinski said it's true she felt insulted when Perrone addressed her and an executive assistant as "ladies" in an email, but she said the committee also took issue with time off and salary requests he made.

Perrone said those other concerns weren't mentioned when he met with the committee.

"They said that they were rescinding the offer and the reason was because I called them ladies which was a microaggression," he said. "I attempted to apologize for offending anyone and they didn't think that that was relevant based on the fact that they had already voted."

As for Perrone's contract demands, he said he thought they would be the beginning of a negotiation that never happened.

Glenn Koocher, who leads the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, cautioned the public from jumping to conclusions.

"I have not spoke with anybody on that school committee but I can say from my own experiences that there's probably a lot more to this than a simple explanation," he said.

The Easthampton School Committee is scheduled to meet Monday night to discuss the path forward. Earlier this week, a virtual school committee meeting had to be canceled after too many people tried to log in.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.