GROTON — Reedy Meadow Road resident Paul Funch has decided to enter the lists in the upcoming spring elections to seek a full three-year term on the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee.
“I pretty much decided to run again when I first ran,” said Funch. “One year isn’t enough with the learning curve that you need for the School Committee. I’m still learning everything about how the School Committee works. I just think one year is too short of a time to learn everything about the job.”
Funch first expressed interest in joining the School Committee last year when he volunteered to fill out the remainder of an unexpired term that had opened up on the committee after a former member resigned.
That initial attempt failed when the Board of Selectmen chose Alberta Erickson for the position.
Undeterred, Funch then ran and defeated Paul Fitzgerald, who held a seat on the School Committee after also having been appointed by the selectmen.
With that term ending, Funch has decided to run for re-election, this time for a full three-year term of his own.
“Being on the School Committee has exceeded my expectations,” said Funch. “I expected that there would be a lot of work, and it was even more than I thought. It’s very time consuming, but it’s an important job, and I’m enjoying it.”
This time around, Funch will face a crop of school issues that hadn’t been in contention in his previous race.
“The issues surrounding the School Committee have changed since the last time I ran because of all of the things that have happened since I started,” said Funch. “From the football program to the Florence Roche playground arsenic poisoning and the Prescott School’s air-quality problems. Also, the high-school water-supply problem is still not resolved. In addition, we’ve got other building issues like the Twomey Center roof and other capital repairs. And that’s just the physical stuff.
“Then there’s the curriculum issues that parents have concerns about, particularly at the elementary schools, but also at the middle school,” he said. “We’ve also had a couple of resignations to deal with. You kind of take it as it comes, but you’re not really in charge. There are things you would like to do, but there are always other things that come up that you have to pay attention to. There are things I wanted to contribute to such as the budget, and to some extent I think I have. The budget formulation process is more transparent, more understandable now. I think things are really coming along.”
Funch will be joined on the campaign trail by fellow School Committee member Karen Lofgren, who has also taken out nomination papers. So far, no other candidates have challenged the two incumbents.
As for the upcoming campaign, Funch said that with a base of supporters he can count on, he doesn’t plan on doing anything different than the last time.
“I’m a little concerned about how much time I’ll have to devote to my campaign,” said Funch. “It’s coming at a bad time with my work. I hope to spend as much time on it as I did before, but that’s going to be difficult. I would like to meet even more people and get to know more about the issues that people are concerned with.
“It’s just something you’ve got to do,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get to meet some new faces this time around.”
For now, Funch plans to work on acquiring the signatures of 46 registered voters needed for the nomination process and have his paperwork submitted to the town clerk before the April 3 deadline.
Election day has been scheduled for May 22.