Saturday, November 2, 2019

Franklin Candidate Interview: Mary Jane Scofield

This interview with Mary Jane Scofield, 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. MJS represents Mart Jane’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? 
MJS = When I arrived in Franklin in 1989 I started out by attending PCC meetings at Horace Mann when Mr. Colace was the Principal. The people that I met were fabulous! This led to participating in activities at Oak Street, when it occupied a couple of wings at FHS. When redistricting took place, I and others took ourselves to Davis-Thayer, back to Horace Mann, and FHS for the second or third time for many of us. Through the years I’ve participated in Scouts, taught CCD, and helped with the Fourth of July. 

I participated in the activities of the Franklin Youth Soccer Association, being on the Board of Directors for many years, serving as President for two. With FYSA I coached many teams, from Instructional to Travel, most years without having a child on a team. It was heartbreaking to me a couple of years when I couldn’t coach due to personal circumstances. However, I continue to volunteer my time to be involved with soccer by being the Secretary of the BAYS (Boston Area Youth Soccer) Board of Directors. There is nothing like taking part in any organization that promotes the sport, and the building of relationships that may last forever. 

In 1997 I was elected to the School Committee, and for ten years I was the Chair of the Policy Subcommittee, served on several contract negotiation teams, and was the School Committee representative to the Keller-Sullivan Building Committee. I also had the opportunity to be a member of the Mass Association of School Committees (MASC) Student Assessment Committee, Athletic Advisory Committee, Game Officials Committee, and the MIAA State Soccer Committee.
FM = Where do you get your news about Franklin?
MJS = Franklin Matters, of course! The Gazette is a must read each week. The Milford Daily News could do a better job of reporting what goes on in town. Email alerts from the Town are also helpful.
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?
MJS = I was a member of the School Start Time Advisory Committee, and was one of two that voted against sending the final proposal to the School Committee. While it appears that the research shows that a later start time would be beneficial for MS/HS students, there wasn’t much consideration for the elementary students. I think that the decision to pause on implementation is the right way to go.
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?
MJS = I wouldn’t say that the methods of communication have been unsuccessful. These methods didn’t exist a few years ago. As volunteers, School Committee members have demonstrated that they are available to the public at events in town. The events were well publicized, and it’s unfortunate that some see the lack of participation by citizens as a failure. I would encourage School Committee members to continue to participate in local events, and schedule educational events related to topics of high interest/concern. I commend the School Committee for their efforts thus far.
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?
MJS = The independent study that was authorized by the School Committee, and funded by the Town is the right thing to do. This is not a new topic. When the study is complete the School Committee will have to make a tough decision, with input from all stakeholders.
FM = Why should I vote for you?
For the past four years it has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of Franklin. My stepchildren and my son are beneficiaries of an excellent educational system. It is my hope to continue to serve on the School Committee to ensure that all students leave the system with the foundation to be curious, confident, and productive citizens. 

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

Franklin Candidate Interview: Mary Jane Scofield
Franklin Candidate Interview: Mary Jane Scofield

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