Sunday, October 27, 2019

Franklin Candidate Interview: Judith Pond Pfeffer

This interview with Judith Pond Pfeffer, candidate for Franklin School Committee in 2019, was collaborated on via email. We reviewed the following questions, some of them were ‘crowd sourced.’ Some of you may remember the call for input solicited in August 2019 for this election. Thank you for your contributions.

Hopefully, the information provided here, and in the other interviews, will enable the Franklin voters to make a good choice among the candidates for each position.

For the following FM presents the question. JPP represents Judy’s response.

FM = There are and have been many opportunities to volunteer with community groups in Franklin. Have you taken advantage of any of these? Which ones, and why did you choose that/those?
JPP = Volunteer with Friends of Franklin Elders, Inc, Friends of Franklin Library, Inc., current appointed member of the Affordable Housing Trust, recently served 20 years on the Franklin Town Council and was Chair of the recent Franklin Library Construction and Renovation project. Have been an appointed member of the Finance Committee as well.

FM = Where do you get your news about Franklin?
JPP = I have an E-Edition of the Milford Daily News delivered daily, member of Franklin Matters which is received daily, do read Facebook sections on Franklin daily. Do read the Gazette each week.

FM = The possibility of a change in school start times was a recent controversial topic taken up by the School Committee. Where do you stand on the issue of school start times in Franklin and what actions do you plan to take around this issue during the next term of the School Committee?

JPP = When I was in high school, those many years ago, high school students did not get enough sleep. Since time immortal middle school and high school kids do not get enough sleep. Changing school time is not going to correct this. When a high school senior goes off to college, the college is not going to change the time of an early morning class so that more sleep is obtained. Having middle and high school start times later causes ripples across the other schools in their start times. Extremely unfair to have younger students starting earlier so older student can sleep a little later.

FM = While the current School Committee has attempted to reach the community through various forms of communication including coffee chats, email newsletters, attending events such as the farmers market, etc., they have been generally unsuccessful at increasing the engagement with important issues related to the schools. What actions will you take to increase citizen engagement with the School Committee?
JPP = There seems to be a chasm between the School Department and the community of Franklin as far as communication. There has not been for numbers of years now any newspaper reporting from the Milford Daily News. No reporters attend Council nor School Committee meetings. It should be mentioned that the Milford Daily News is the recipient of all the Town of Franklin legal reporting to the sum of over Twenty Thousand per year. Not all families have computer access, thus no Franklin Matters and no Facebook info available, nor E-Edition at hand. Perhaps a quarterly mailing to Franklin residents? Perhaps school information being available in the other local paper which is mailed to all residents?

FM = The Town Administrator has suggested that the School Committee investigate the possibility of closing Davis Thayer Elementary as a possible cost-saving mechanism for the town in these tight economic times. Where do you stand on this issue and what actions will you take to support your stance?
JPP = Davis Thayer was built in 1924, some upgrades in 1973. I graduated from Davis Thayer and my mother (along time Franklin School Teacher) graduated from that building in the 1920’s. There was a feasibility study done in 2013, at a School Department cost of $25,114.00. That study was never presented to the Town Council for their review. Our current school committee voted unanimously to hire another firm to come in and conduct a multi-year study. No discussion at that meeting as to the existing study not where the funds are to be found to conduct this new study! 

Davis Thayer as it currently sits needs assistance if it is going to remain a school. There is no elevator for handicapped students in this three-story building, bathrooms are not A.D.A. compliant. At the last Council meeting the Town Administrator allocated to the School Department $50,000.00 to pay for a new multi-year study of this building. Instead of going outside and hiring another firm, do this review in house. 

Utilize the old study and then form a committee of two present or former parents of David Thayer students, two present or former teachers from Davis Thayer, one member of the School Committee, one member of the town council, the Building Inspector, the Facilities Director, the Fire Chief. Let these people come back to the School Committee and the Town with their findings. It would also show that the School Committee is considering means of saving money when possible.

FM = Why should I vote for you?
  • I know how to work between the Council and Town Departments
  • Experience and operational knowledge and knowing how the town council works
  • Knowledge, wisdom and experience working within the scope of getting results
  • Experience in finding better ways to afford items and programs in a tight budget
  • And it is always a tight budget

Find the election and candidate information gathered in one place on the Election Collection 

Franklin Candidate Interview: Judith Pond Pfeffer
Franklin Candidate Interview: Judith Pond Pfeffer

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