Two candidates vie for Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School Committee seat

  • Carla Raymond CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Barton Gage CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2021 4:13:31 PM

GOSHEN — Two candidates are vying for a three-year seat on the Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School Committee in the May 1 town election, the only contested race on the ballot.

Incumbent Barton Gage is facing a challenge from Carla Raymond who is making her first bid for elected office. The election is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John James Memorial Hall at 42 Main St. Voters who wish to vote by mail can request a ballot from the town clerk at 40 Main St. by April 27 at 5 p.m. Ballots must be returned by the time polls close on election day.

Gage, 40, was elected to the Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School Committee last year for a one-year term. He helps run Snow Shoe Farm in Worthington, a family maple business that he is in the process of taking over. Gage grew up in Worthington and moved to Goshen from New Hampshire about five years ago to take over the farm. He said he ran for School Committee as a way to give back.

Gage said it has been “kind of an intense year” between dealing with the pandemic, a search for an interim and then permanent superintendent for the Hampshire Regional School District.

“It was a bigger job than I knew it would be going into it,” he said.

Gage said he went into the job looking to bring in a superintendent that has what he described as Hilltown values, which he believes school officials found in both interim superintendent Michael Sullivan and Diana Bonneville, who is set to take over from Sullivan pending contract negotiations.

Gage said that he has an interest in the financial oversight aspect of the School Committee, and he noted that he voted against putting a new pre-school class into New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield, due to its impact on taxpayers. The School Committee approved the new class and Gage said he is unsure if he will oppose it at Town Meeting.

Gage said he is pleased there is a contested election for the school committee seat and, based on what he knows about Raymond, “Goshen and Chesterfield will be well-represented no matter what happens,” he said.

Raymond, 32, is a social worker and mother of two children and her eldest child is in first grade at New Hingham Regional Elementary School.

Raymond served on the finalist search committee this year for the Hampshire Regional School District superintendent, where she helped to interview the semifinalists for the position. She said that serving on the search committee inspired her to run, as did the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education.

“I think that the pandemic has really changed the future of education,” Raymond said.

She said that she saw firsthand the impacts on her own child from not being in-person for part of the pandemic, while also noting that students at New Hingham went back to school earlier than most others.

“It would have been much worse had she not gone back in October,” she said.

Raymond grew up in Williamsburg, and she said that she moved to Goshen 10 years ago to give her children a similar small-town experience.

“I come from a small town,” she said. “I wanted them to grow up in that small-town setting.”

Raymond said that on the night of the town caucus when she learned that Gage was running again she considered not running, but ultimately decided to run for the school committee seat.

Raymond said she hasn’t done any campaigning yet but is considering meeting and greeting people outside of the post office.

“So far the people that I’ve spoken to are excited that I’m running,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll vote for me.”

As for her plans if elected, Raymond said that she intends to focus on budget issues, staff retention, and the COVID-19 recovery. She also said that she backs the addition of a new preschool class at New Hingham Regional Elementary School.

“I don’t see an issue with putting budgetary money toward furthering education for preschoolers,” she said. “The earlier that kids can begin their education the better.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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