Shortly before a recently scheduled Meet & Greet with candidates for several elected offices, Gilbert Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Clyde Dangerfield, contacted candidate supporters. These supporters had invited friends & neighbors to a grass roots Meet & Greet to hear from several candidates. Mr. Dangerfield sought to thwart support efforts for candidate for Gilbert School Board, Julie Smith, relating that support for Mrs. Smith is also supporting him being fired. Overcome by obligations to Mr. Dangerfield, the couple hosting the Meet & Greet determined to “un-invite” Mrs. Smith.
Both husband and wife shared remorse with Mrs. Smith but were unable to share with friends and neighbors her credentials since she was asked not to attend the Meet & Greet. Mrs. Smith commented, “I hold nothing against them for making this decision.” However, as word leaked out among supporters about how these events transpired, a ground-swell of support appears to be gathering momentum in favor of Mrs. Smith and her campaign for GPS governing board.
This unfortunate couple is not alone. Mr. Dangerfield has reportedly used similar tactics on many others, including but not limited to those listed as co-sponsors of the Meet & Greet and others who attend the same religious worship meetings.
Gilbert School Board hopeful, Mrs. Julie Smith, holds a critical opinion of the district administration and has been very outspoken on several issues and attends school board meetings regularly. Mr. Dangerfield’s actions may be a result of sharp criticism regarding the recent tax hikes recommended by the district. In her comments to board members and administrators at a recent board meeting, Mrs Smith laid blame directly with Mr. Dangerfield saying, “Shame on you,” suggesting that the recommendation from the district originated from Mr. Dangerfield and his department.
Apparently threatened by Mrs. Smith, Mr. Dangerfield is reportedly coercing friends and neighbors as well as fellow church members from supporting Mrs. Smith and telling them, “…if she is elected, I’ll lose my job.” In addition to the tax increase is a $17Million dollar Budget Override initiative also on the ballot this November. Mr. Dangerfield and district officials have been intimidating the public and employees to support the override or face losing the 2% salary increase they are promised. Members of the public feel obligated as many district officials including Mr. Dangerfield threaten larger class sizes, reduced programs, and higher fees associated with students who attend district schools should the override fail to pass. Many top district officials and GPS vendors have contributed to political action committees in support of the override campaign. Of course, this comes as no surprise. A contribution of several hundred dollars is practically an investment for a salary increase of several thousand dollars.
Interestingly, Mr. Dangerfield’s salary is reportedly over $132,000, plus health benefits and retirement pension. Mrs. Smith commented on how disgusted she is that Mr. Dangerfield has no compunction about passing along the burden of these enormous salaries and other excesses to the tax-payers, selfishly pushing for a budget override of which he would personally benefit by a salary increase of $2,640, then seeking to intimidate the public, district staff, and even his fellow neighbors and church members. Mrs. Smith commented, “It puts these unfortunate people in a position of choosing between their personal friendships for Clyde, and deciding on whether to pay their own bills. He’s also using one first-ammendment freedom to abuse another.”
Not all board members agree that a budget override is required to maintain quality of education.