By Warren Shaw It’s springtime in Dracut and that should mean we are about to be entertained by election-season foolishness.
But because of an unexpected set of circumstances, we are back to a time when people run for office because they feel they want to get involved and do some good for their community.
Three newcomers, all young men, are running for School Committee because they have children in the system and want to make sure they get a good education.
Two newcomers are running for the Dracut Housing Authority because they are sick of the politics over there.
How about that!
It is amazing what a house-cleaning scandal can do for a community.
Who would have thought that when the house of Michael McLaughlin came tumbling down, it would open up an opportunity to bring fresh faces and ideas to the Housing Authority and also, by the way, change the way public housing authorities are run … forever, we hope
And what about the main event in this spring election, the school committee race?
Although one could take this back a few years and point out that if the McLaughlin gang hadn’t pushed out former Superintendent of Schools Elaine Espindle, the event that kicked off the musical chairs in the district’s highest office, things might be very different today, the reality is that this political scandal had nothing to do with our current School Committee.
Our schools have a problem over lack of stability in the superintendent’s office and the perception, at least, that the schools have continued to spend money as if we weren’t in a recession.
And, as the Stacy Scott era comes to a close, we hear that the town hasn’t spent enough on education and that unless we either raise our taxes — again — or decimate other services to the tune of $3.5 million, we will lose as many as 74 positions.
And this, say the administrators who are about to leave town, will hurt the kids.
So, I’m happy to give some new people a shot at solving the problem — Dracut people, who pay taxes and have children in the schools.
The real point of this column is not that we have issues in our schools or that we will have a significant change of leadership on our Housing Authority, it is the process of electing our local leaders without someone trying to control it all.
The group thing appears to be dead and people can just run for office, without feeling the need to be part of a machine.
Sure, there will always be folks out there trying to control boards for their own interests but for now at least, it looks like the dark side of Dracut politics is finished.