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Editorial: The race is on

This year’s Greenfield School Committee election could have been classified as a ho-hum, no race for the two seats being vacated.

But with the entry of a write-in candidate — and the subsequent reaction by one of the other candidates — this election is no longer a sleeper. Instead, it has become one that should be getting the attention of the Greenfield voters heading into Tuesday’s election.

Let’s set the stage:

Sitting school board members Doris Doyle and Marcia Day decided not to run for re-election, leaving two three-year seat on the committee open. Margaret Betts and Wesley Blixt stepped forward as candidates. Two candidates, two seats ... not much of a contest there. Then, Donna Gleason, a veteran educator in Greenfield Public Schools, offered herself as a write-in candidate.

Gleason, whose latest role in the system was as principal at the Discovery School at Four Corners, is retiring at the end of the month. She says that she didn’t originally think the timing would initially work on a run, but changed her mind after some research.

So now there are three candidates, though clearly it’s an uphill climb for Gleason as a write-in candidate getting into the mix with about a week left in this year’s campaign. She acknowledged that in Wednesday’s Recorder story about her candidacy. “It’s worth a shot. I have nothing to lose. I have everything to give to Greenfield and if Greenfield doesn’t elect me, there’s (always) the next time.”

Normally such developments might attract a few more voters to the polls, including Gleason’s family, friends and perhaps parents who like her style. Given the history of such entries, not exactly the best odds for success.

That is, unless something else comes into play, like one of the other candidates reacting in a poor way.

In this case, that happened. A post on Gleason’s campaign Facebook page reads:

“... Your only message seems to be that you want to ‘move forward’ without change. What? You offer your unquestioning allegiance to the current superintendent, who clearly loves such toadies,” wrote opponent Blixt, though he penned it under the name “Wesley Arnold.”

“... I’m running to end the nonsense that you represent. Your candidacy is a divisive and silly embarrassment ...”

Reached by The Recorder, Blixt continued to see Gleason’s candidacy as “a disservice to our schools.” “I am upset about the direction of the current administration. Our schools are crying out for change and accountability.”

So what do we take from this response, aside from the obvious conclusion that Blixt isn’t happy running against even token opposition?

Blixt has created his own divisiveness and embarrassment. Calling people who don’t share his view of Superintendent Susan Hollins “toadies” isn’t the way to persuade the public to your way of thinking. It also seems to ignore the role Hollins as played in helping turn around Greenfield Public Schools from a very dark and terrible place.

Blixt doesn’t have to like the fact that Gleason is running, although one would think that opposition in a public election is normally a given.

But in offering up such denigrating remarks, he has only hurt his own cause and motivated those who don’t like his approach.

Blixt’s campaign signs tell Greenfield voters to “do your homework.”

We suspect that’s exactly what many suddenly aware residents will be doing before Tuesday.

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