Friday, May 31, 2013

Parmenter 5K - Sunday

The Parmenter 5K Run for all Ages is scheduled for Sunday, June 2.

Parmenter 5K - Jun 2
Parmenter 5K - Jun 2

Registration and additional info can be found on the race webpage

MassBudget: Conference Preview - differences between the Senate and House budget proposals

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Comparing Senate and House Budget Proposals
Last week, the Senate finalized its budget proposal for FY 2014, laying out its plans for what we should do together through state government in the coming year. Our new "Conference Preview" describes the major differences between the Senate budget and the House version, in order to highlight the decisions that the upcoming House-Senate Conference Committee will face.

Some of the most significant differences are:

  • $75 million in additional House funding to help make higher education more affordable

  • Modest Senate initiatives to address the large and growing wait list for children seeking early education & care

  • An $11 million gap between the Senate's higher funding level for Youth Empowerment programs and the House's lower level

In addition to describing these and other differences between the House and Senate budgets, the "Conference Preview" also analyzes the more prominent amendments that were adopted during Senate debate. For more detail on the budget process, including these legislative budgets and the Governor's earlier proposal, see our Budget Resources.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
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Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

"reform the laws and respect the rights of the citizens"

The Gun Control Forum held at Dean College and hosted by Rep Jeff Roy was reported on in the Milford Daily News.

"I ask for continued, thoughtful, reasoned and sane debate as we go forward in these next few months," Naughton said, adding that a new piece of legislation will be ready for the House in the fall. 
Nearly 100 people, with wide-ranging views on gun control, attended the more than hour-long talk on gun legislation, hosted by state Rep. Jeffrey Roy, D-Franklin. The 7-person panel included a gun rights lobbyist and police chief, professors and legislators. 
Franklin Police Chief Stephan Semerjian said gun licensing rules need tuning, saying, "Legislators are trying to do the best they can."

Read more:

The 1998 legislation as referenced in the article can be read here

The full document for H 3253 as filed by Rep Linsky can be viewed here

From the same page, you can search for other related legislation as filed this year.

United Regional Chamber of Commerce: Early Bird Golf Rate Ends June 3

The United Regional
 Chamber of Commerce
Annual Golf Tournament 
June 17 - Franklin Country Club
 672 E. Central St., Franklin 
 What's Included:
18-holes of Golf, Cart, Lunch, Dinner, and More

Important Times:
11 a.m. Registration
11:30 a.m. Putting Contest &  
Rules & Cart Pick-Up
Noon Shotgun Start
5 p.m. Awards Dinner
$185, or $210 with player passport before June 3 

Register by Calling: 508-222-0801, 508-528-2800 or 508-695-6011
Thank You to These Generous Sponsors:
Rockland Trust Co logo    Middlesex Savings Bank

Dean Bank   Hub International
  Putnam Investments
Mansfield Bank blue
 Fun Enterprises     guaranteed rate - steve boucher  


Even If You're Not a Golfer,  
You Can Still Promote Your Business

by donating items for the "golfers bags" that will be given to every golfer. What you donate is up to you! Possibilities include lip balm, sunscreen, snack bags, or whatever you might like that can display your business name. Call the Chamber at 508-222-0801 to let us know what you'd like to contribute.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce | 42 Union Street | Attleboro | MA | 02703

"It’s almost as moving as the real thing"

The half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is in Medway through Sunday.

"It’s tough, but it’s satisfying," said Souza, who helped put up panel 30 West of the Wall, which includes the name of his childhood friend, Richie. 
Volunteers, including Leigh’s nephew George Grant of Medway, spent most of Thursday putting up the wall, which is managed by a Michigan-based nonprofit organization and includes more than 58,000 names. 
After the presentation of colors by the 1st Battalion, 25th Marines out of Devens, the ceremony was lead by Marines Staff Sgt. Robert Saleski of Medway, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient. 
Among the speakers was state Rep. Jeff Roy, D-Franklin, who said the monument is one of the "most powerful and moving tributes to personal sacrifice and national loss," including more than 1,000 soldiers from Massachusetts. 
"The names pay silent tribute to men and women from communities like this one," said Roy, who recalled being 7 when his neighbor was killed in Vietnam. "I can remember the sorrow at the dinner table, and the emptiness of my neighbors’ house."

Read more:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Age appropriate there and here

Bernie DeKoven, the Chief Deep Funster, writes;
John Taylor Gatto’s article, The Curriculum of Play, is visionary in its scope, and deeply validating for anyone who believes in the kind of education that takes place when children are free and at play. Perhaps I am so drawn to it because I’ve spent so much of my life, since 1971 and the publication of my Interplay Games Curriculum, and the years of teaching and training that led up to it. Nevertheless, dear Deep Funster, I decided to assume that at least some of Gatto’s article would be as affirming to your beliefs as it was to mine. I am not in total agreement. But if I were, it probably wouldn’t be as much fun to read.

He also includes this video about "Schools of Trust"

So coming off the post and video, I find out that at least Franklin teachers will be doing a 45 writing prompt for K-2 to prepare something for the teachers in September to use. Students in 3-5th grade will get 2 forty-five minute periods for this writing exercise. This is not part of the Writers Workshop curriculum that is used by the district. So excuse me! 45 minutes for a K student without assistance? And Franklin touts their age appropriate educational experience? You gotta be kidding?

You can read Bernie's full posting here

I would be curious to find out how widespread this writing prompt exercise is. Unfortunately, I have not been  able to attend many School Committee meetings due to my work with the Food Pantry. If you hear of this in your school, please share.

Spring photo mini-sessions - family photos!

Aubrey B Greene Photography
Aubrey B Greene Photography

This Spring, mini-sessions will be held on June 15, 2013, from 9am - 4:30pm, with slots every half hour. Sessions will be 20 minutes long and can include any number of people. My selection of the best images will be edited and posted online for ordering prints, canvases & gifts. 
Sessions cost $100 each, and will be held outdoors on the Dean College campus in Franklin, MA. 
If you would like to sign up, please e-mail AUBREY@AUBREYGREENE.COM to reserve your time slot!

You can view Aubrey's work on her website

View the event on Facebook

Gun Safety Forum - 7:00 PM - Dean College

Hosted by Rep Jeffrey Roy, the forum will feature a panel with

  • Stephan Semerjian, Franklin Police Chief
  • Representative David P. Linsky, Leader on public safety legislation
  • Representative Harold P. Naughton, Chair, Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security
  • Jim Wallace, President, Gun Owners Action League (GOAL)
  • Andrea Leverentz, Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston

"a record of perfect attendance since kindergarten"

One tried, one let it happen. Both students ended up with perfect attendance records as they graduate from Franklin High School.

"When I was up late doing homework or something, I always wanted to take a day off," Lauren said of making it through high school without a sick day. "A lot of my friends would do that. But my mom pushed me to keep up with it: ‘You made it this far,’ she said, ‘just keep going.’" 
Combined, the teenagers completed more than 4,000 school days. After middle school, honored by teachers and administrators, they realized just how far they’d gone without missing any classes. 
For Lauren, the award compelled her to keep the record going through high school: "It was a motivator for me." 
Tom, however, was indifferent. "I wasn’t trying for a record," he said. "I just went whenever I could, and it happened to be every day."

Read more:

Pour Richard's One Fund Fundraiser

Announcing Pour Richard's First Pennywise Party*
*and One Fund Boston Benefit

Save the Date! Sunday, June 9th we will host our first Pennywise Party. Are you stocking up for a vacation home, a boat, or just a bunch of great summer entertaining? Don't waste precious time stopping for provisions. Instead, you can have your own little stash of great wine, AND know that you got a great bargain. We have asked our distributors to bring great wines that they can offer at a 20-70% discount. We'll have 40+ wines for you to try, you buy what you like, and your order will be available for pickup in a couple of days. 
Our first Pennywise Party will also be a benefit for One Fund Boston. There will be awesome wine and wine-related raffles, and we'll be donating a percentage of profits. We literally can't believe some of the wines we've received for this event: Wattle Creek GSM at 75% off, Guenoc single vineyard Petite Sirah at66% off, Andeluna Chardonnay at more than 60% off. Hope to see you there!

For more about Pour Richard's visit their website

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Relay for Life - Franklin

The next Relay for Life is scheduled for Jun 14 - 15 at Tri-County Regional Voc Tech here in Franklin.

One of the featured events during the Relay will be a Pantene hair stylist Saturday morning from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM

For the full schedule of events visit the Franklin Relay for Life webpage

Crescent St Construction

One of the streets being rebuilt this year on the DPW schedule is Crescent St. I caught this photo as I passed by on the way to the parade Monday.

crescent st construction
Crescent St construction

If you missed the Town Council meeting in April with the presentation on all the DPW projects you can check this link

Emeritus Senior Living

The construction is making progress, earlier photos that I took as I passed by were all of the site prep.

emeritus senior living
Emeritus at Franklin

This week there is steel rising above ground and a stairwell or elevator shaft being put together.

construction framing
construction framing

For more about Emeritus Senior Living visit their webpage

In the News: tornado relief

The Franklin Police and Fire departments have teamed up with Tony Gallo of Gallo Moving to collect much needed relief supplies for the tornado victims of Moore, Okla.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Parade - photos

A photo slideshow of the Memorial Day parade

Where would the anaerobic digester be located?


Changes to §185-3. Definitions



Chapter 185 of the Code of the Town of Franklin is hereby amended by the following
addition, added into §185-3 Definitions in alphabetical order:
ANAEROBIC DIGESTER - A structure or series of structures where a biological
process, anaerobic digestion, breaks down or “digests” organic waste materials in the
absence of oxygen, and through utilization of separators, biogas recovery systems and
other processes, produces digestate and biogas, which are further processed for
production of soil amendment, fertilizer, electric energy, pipeline quality natural gas, and
similar commercial products.
The foregoing Zoning By-law amendment shall take effect in accordance with the
Franklin Home Rule Charter and Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40A, Section 5.

The public hearing and presentation will take place before the Planning Board, Monday, June 3.

Pond St entrance to former sewer facility
Pond St entrance to former sewer facility

Proposed location is on Pond St (next to KinderCare) at the site of the former Franklin sewer facility.

View Larger Map

For more on the public hearing

"Getting an unaccepted road on a town’s books can be a complicated process"

A Massachusetts Department of Transportation inventory found more than 3,200 miles of so-called unaccepted roads in the state last year, though the state may undercount the true number, according to Turner and several municipal highway officials. 
"It really is a bill that’s time has come," Turner said recently. "It’s really necessary." 
Such streets pepper the eastern Massachusetts landscape, often in subdivisions where builders skipped town, went bankrupt or died before a municipality reviewed and formally accepted the development’s roads as public ways. 
This often causes headaches, with no developer to plow, repair or pave such roads and towns under no obligation and without any state road funding to do any major maintenance of improvements to such streets.


Some towns have taken different approaches to unaccepted roads. Franklin adopted a streamlined process to accept roads and has been actively doing so, said Brutus Cantoreggi, the town’s public works director. The town can then count those roads in the formula used to determine how much state Chapter 90 highway maintenance money it receives, he said. 
"If it was initially going to be a publicly accepted roadway, that’s where it has to go," Cantoreggi said.

Read more: State bill aims to resolve confusion over unaccepted roads - Franklin, MA - Wicked Local Franklin

Related posts:

The annual Report section on the DPW's Highway Division

The DPW presentation to the Town Council in April, 2013 on the various projects being worked this year

The current road condition report

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Parade

The parade is scheduled to start at 10:30 AM. The parade forms at the Historical Museum and will walk up Main St to the Town Common. The parade will make stops at Dean College and the monuments on the Town Common for brief ceremonies.

From last years parade, the Horace Mann Middle School Band:

Franklin, MA: Memorial Day Parade - 2012
Horace Mann Middle School Band

"the day we remember what it means to be a hero"

An essay by Vanessa Desiato, an intern with the MA Dept of Veterans Services:
So what does Memorial Day mean to me, now that I'm older, more experienced, and a little bit taller? It means we should stop and think about the sacrifices men and women have given to make this world a safer place for someone else, not just on Memorial Day, but every day. As an intern at the Department of Veterans’ Services, serving Massachusetts' veterans, every day is a Memorial Day/Veteran’s Day hybrid. These soldiers are stronger and braver than I could ever imagine myself being. They are heroes. They are people like my brother, who heard the call to serve, and couldn’t be persuaded to do anything else. Someone I grew up with making snowballs, blowing up hotdogs, and climbing on, was a hero-in-the-making, and I had no idea.

Read the full essay here

"Massachusetts has raised tobacco taxes in 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2008"

This may also happen this year as the Governor, House and Senate all include a dollar a pack increase in their respective budgets for FY 2014.
Cigarette tax revenues, along with the settlement money, brought in about $815 million last year, according to the Department of Revenue. That figure would rise another estimated $165 million - for a total of $980 million - under a proposed dollar-per-pack increase supported by the governor, House and Senate. 
All of the increase would go to fix the state's aging transportation infrastructure. Nearly all the other tobacco tax revenue now goes into the general fund. Only $4.2 million went to anti-smoking programs this year. 
Marc Hymovitz, director of advocacy and Massachusetts state government relations for the American Cancer Society, said the use of tobacco tax revenue to fund anti-smoking programs in earlier years was superseded by the state's economic crises of the past decade.

Read more:

Moving Wall in Medway May 30 - June 2

Do not miss this opportunity to visit the half-size replica, which will be located at the Medway VFW on Holliston Street. 
An opening ceremony will be held Thursday, May 30, at 6 p.m., and a closing ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, June 2, at 5 p.m. The exhibit will be open 24 hours a day until Monday morning, June 3, and will be staffed by volunteers for your inquiries or individual needs. 
Materials will be available to do rubbings of names, should you desire to do so, in remembrance of a friend or loved one killed in action in the Vietnam War.

Looking for Names, Vietnam Moving Wall
Moving Wall

Read more: Downing: Vietnam Wall in Medway - Franklin, MA - Wicked Local Franklin

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 28

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

"The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law."

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the May 14, 2013 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mrs. McIntyre
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives

2. Guests/Presentations
a. District Improvement Plan
(details of the proposed plan are contained in the following Google docs)

b. Jefferson Elementary School Update – Linda Ashley

3. Discussion Only Items
Increase in School Lunch Prices – Miriam Goodman

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the FPS District Improvement Plan for the 2013-2014 school year
b. I recommend approval of an increase to school lunch prices to: Elementary $2.20, Middle School $2.65 and High School $2.90 as discussed.
c. I recommend acceptance of the donation of cameras and other supplies (Valued at $1702.84) for RMS TV Studio from Franklin TV.
d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $282.66 from Wells Fargo Community Support for Douglas Lee for the FHS.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $75.00 from Roger and Roberta Trahan for a FHS Scholarship.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Denise Miller for a FHS Scholarship.
g. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 5 laptops, MS Office licenses and 5 carts (valued at $3,719.85) from the JF Kennedy PCC for Kennedy students.
h. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
i. I recommend acceptance of a check for $250.00 from the Norfolk DA for an Operation Graduation Grant for FHS.
j. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 8 standing desks (cost: $1819.30) for grades 3 and 5 at Oak Street Elementary School from the PCC.
k. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 15 fans (cost: $1602.90) for Oak Street’s second floor from the PCC.
l. I recommend acceptance of a check for $355.72 from O’Connor Portraiture, Inc. for Davis Thayer Elementary School.
m. I recommend acceptance of a check for $200.00 from Jayne Sabolinski for a FHS scholarship.

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Franklin News: dog licenses, museum volunteers, water conservation

I'll find the current news on the official Franklin webpage and share it here for you to also share it among your friends and neighbors.

Town Clerk, Deborah L. Pellegri is reminding dog owners that licenses were due April 1st. Owners have until July 1ST to come into the office or mail in a renewal to obtain a 2013 license without any additional fees. After July 1, the late fee will be $25.00 plus the cost of the dog tag. Please remember to license your dog TODAY and avoid any late charges. All dogs must show updated rabies information if it is not on file with us.

Notice: Museum Volunteer
The Historical Commission is looking for a volunteer to sort and put in ABC order some old newspapers. Call: Deborah L. Pellegri at 508-520-4900

Water Conservation Measures Effective Mon June 3rd

The summer Water Conservation Measures are needed to limit the daily demand on the water system in order to ensure that adequate water is available to meet the public health and safety needs of the Town. This measure is necessary to maintain the water levels in the tanks for fire protection and normal consumption. During the summer months, the Town experiences excessively high demands for water due to lawn watering. There have been 24-hour periods during which water consumption has been more than twice our average daily water usage for the year. Because of the tremendous increase in the demand for water and State restrictions on the amount of water that can be pumped daily, the Town of Franklin must place mandatory water conservation measures in effect for lawn watering during the summer months. 
A total of l-inch of water once per week from rain and watering promotes the healthiest lawns. Non­ compliance with these regulations could adversely affect public health and safety. Violators are subject to fines up to $200. 
For additional information, visit the DPW web page. Any questions should be directed to the Department of Public Works at 508-520-4915 or 508-553-5500.

"building a kiosk to hold things like trail maps"

Milford Daily News reports on Christopher Rich, a 16-year-old Scout with Troop 126, who Eagle Scout project is building a kiosk at the DelCarte Property.
Rich said he hoped the project would allow Franklin residents to enjoy the land, a 126-acre parcel that sits along Pleasant Street. 
"When I first started, I was amazed that it was such a beautiful place," he said. "I love conservation, and I'd love to make this property more accessible to people in town. The kiosk will be a place where people can put up information on things going on in town, and we made the trail much more usable."

Read more:

DelCarte: Pond 4
DelCarte, sunny day Oct 2010

Related posts on the DelCarte Property

The proposal to fund the playground and trail improvements

Where is the DelCarte Property?

A brief video from a Sunday morning, Dec 2012

Notes from my first tour of DelCarte in Oct 2010

Franklin Library: Craft Circle

Craft Circle
craft circle
craft circle - Franklin Library

Franklin Public Library - 118 Main Street Franklin MA 02038 - 508.520.4940

"We strategically add seats"

Today's issue of the Milford Daily News reviews the school choice program and how local districts use it. Franklin stopped adding students via school choice in 2007 due to the budget cuts.
Under the School Choice program, public school districts can vote to accept students from outside their district. The student’s home district pays the receiving district a tuition of up to $5,000 each year a student is enrolled in the receiving district. Districts that join School Choice can limit how many students they want to accept each year, but cannot remove a student once he or she enrolls through the program. 
Since School Choice was created in 1991, out-of-district students have enrolled in the Holliston school system at a high rate, drawn by the district’s French immersion classes and Montessori education, said Superintendent Brad Jackson. 
This year was no exception as 120 out-of-district students enrolled in the Holliston school system through School Choice, while just six students left the district through the program. Through the program, the district received about $650,000 in revenue, which Jackson said is used to offset budget costs and reduce the impact on Holliston’s taxpayers.
Read the full article here

Related articles
The history of school choice enrollments was covered in a Jan 2013 School Committee meeting

Coverage of the School Committee decision to opt out of school choice in 2012

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rain Delay - May 25th Event moved to June 1st

Hello Gardeners and Friends, 
Due to the inclement weather this weekend we are postponing this weekends event until Saturday June 1st from 9am to noon.  With nearly two inches of rainfall the ground needs to dry out a bit before it can be safely worked, and with the very cold overnight lows tender seedlings are at risk. 
We are considering having plants for sale both June 1st and 2nd.  If you are interested in attending on the 2nd please let us know! 

CommGarden_20120528 049
Community Garden - May 2012

We hope you can still join us for a day of planting and getting the garden ready for the growing season next week.  We'll have organic plant starts on sale to help your garden get started right, and we'll be working on general maintenance of the garden as a whole.  Weeding, spreading wood-chips, and other work the garden needs.  We'll also be starting a pollinator garden at the garden to help bring in the beneficial bugs that the beds need for bumper crops.  Please come lend a hand!   
For all plot holders please remember that you need to participate in at least one work day each season.  There will be work days at least once a month. 
Good Gardening, 
The Franklin Community Garden Committee

Franklin High School - Lacrosse Playoff schedule

Divison I - Boys
#17 Franklin (12-6) will travel to #16 Framingham (12-5) on May 29th, at 5:00 p.m. 

Divison I - Girls
#4 Franklin (16-2) will host #13 Norwood (9-7-2) on May 29th, at 4:00 p.m. 

You can find all the spring sports playoff schedules and results for the Hockomock League at

In the News: science fair, veterans breakfast

In a project that won first prize at a state science fair earlier this month, local teenager Dylan Martin sought to document the effects controlled doses of "alarm" pheromones have on red harvester ants.

Veterans Agent Bob Fahey led nearly 100 people in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday at the annual Memorial Day breakfast.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Half day - early start to the weekend

Only a half school day today.

parmenter school
parmenter sign
The teachers are not so lucky. They have a professional day to work on the new evaluation process coming to MA school districts. A report in the Boston Globe today bemoans the fact that 92% of the teachers were rated proficient or exemplary. I didn't get to the full set of statistics but it could be a fair reflection of reality if 9-10 percent are 'exemplary'. But the media only like to highlight the bad news and by structuring the headline to combine categories, it implies that most are exemplary. Enough ranting. Too early in the morning for that. Especially ahead of a nice long weekend!


"It’s kind of a race at this point"

The land has sat unused for sometime now. What is driving the need to develop it? Revenue for one, Franklin is looking creatively to expand its revenue base. Another key driver is the possible DEP regulation as referenced in the Milford Daily News article today:
By 2014, he said, the DEP intends to have a regulation in place that orders all large institutions, such as colleges, prisons, hotels, food processors and convention centers, to separate their food waste from their main waste stream for recycling. 
"The regulation would state that you would have to send it to an anaerobic digester facility or to be composted," Coletta said. 
Presently, Coletta said there are several smaller scale anaerobic digestive systems around the state, but none big enough to handle waste from, say, a college.
Read the full article here

Related post on Anaerobic Digestion

Invitation to town forum on gun safety legislation

You're invited to attend our

Panel discussion to be held at Dean College Campus Center, Thursday, May 30 7:00 PM

Senator Spilka Votes to Pass Balanced Budget

The Massachusetts Senate on Friday voted to pass a $33.989 billion budget for fiscal year 2014 (FY14)., announced Senator Karen Spilka. Once again the Senate's has adhered to its unfaltering pledge to prioritize funding for cities and towns.  It also makes strategic investments to increase economic security and support economic development.  

The spending plan includes new investments in housing, education, veterans' services and mental health programs while closing a $1.2 billion budget gap. The FY14 budget utilizes new revenues generated as a result of the joint transportation finance framework agreed on by the House and Senate last month and continues the Senate's commitment to fiscal responsibility while meeting the needs of citizens through restoring vital funding to core services and increasing support for economic and workforce development.

"This budget moves away from some of the painful cuts of the past and begins to make targeted investments in areas that will support and sustain our economy," said Senator Stephen M. Brewer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "I am proud of the funding we have been able to dedicate to building innovation and efficiency while maintaining a partnership with our municipalities and providing essential increases to residents most in need."

"This is a fiscally responsible budget that will ensure we remain on a path for continued economic growth and development while maintaining our commitment to increasing funding for education, our communities, and the services our most vulnerable citizens rely on," said Spilka.

Continuing the commitment to cities and towns, the budget includes a $166.2 million boost for local aid over FY13 spending.  Once again, the Senate allocates more than 900 million in unrestricted government aid (including 21.5 million provided through a transfer from surplus revenue from FY13) and increases funding for local education, or Chapter 70, ensuring that all school districts receive at least $25 per pupil over FY 2013.  Funding for SPED Circuit Breaker, which reimburses for the cost of high needs special education students, is fully funded at $252.8 million and the $7.3 million increase in funding for Regional School Transportation marks the highest reimbursement rate for regional school transportation costs since FY09.

The final budget also increased McKinney-Vento Transportation by $1.3 million to alleviate costs accrued by school districts for transporting homeless children to their home schools,  payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT), which provides direct local aid to certain municipalities for hosting state-owned land, by $1 million and $1 million for the education "pothole" funding, which provides state funding to towns that educate military dependents but do not receive the full cost of schooling through federal funds. It also increases funding for local tourism councils by $1.5 million. 

During two days of public debate, the Senate adopted a number of amendments to strengthen the bill, including many investments and provisions filed by Spilka.

An important resource to assist struggling manufacturing companies was supported through Spilka's amendment to fund the Layoff Aversion Program operated by the Smaller Business Association of New England.  This program provides managerial and financial consulting on a dollar for dollar matching basis to companies in order to help them stay open and keep workers on the job.

Another investment led by Spilka was the first step in the statewide implementation of the new FACES law, also known as CHINS reform, creating Family Resource centers to help children and families across the Commonwealth and funding a 211 hot line for use by courts, schools and families. This amendment puts in place the beginning stages of Spilka's landmark 2012 CHINS Reform Bill, providing resources to allow Health and Human services agencies to begin coordinating services to families, helping them receive assistance in their communities instead of going to the courts.

"This critical reform has the potential give the thousands of children and families who need assistance each year a clearer path to accessing the services and supports they need without exacerbating their situation and before it becomes dire. This funding continues our commitment to make sure that path is built," said Spilka. 

The Senate also adopted Spilka's amendment to create a safeguard for elderly and disabled transit riders on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Regional Transit Authorities from disproportionate fare increases. This amendment develops a tiered structure to ensure affordable access for paratransit riders, so that the cost of a ride is proportional to a person's income and their ability to pay.

"This was an issue about quality of life and equity," said Spilka. "Our seniors and disabled residents on tight budgets should not have to choose between transportation to their medical appointments or paying for their groceries."

Continuing their obligations to the state's most vulnerable; the Senate budget included an $11.5 million salary reserve for human services workers. An amendment filed by Spilka creates a fund to improve the hourly wage of over 19,000 low-paid direct care workers who are currently making less than $40,000 per year. The fund provides a modest salary increase to these vital and dedicated workers.

"This adjustment will help stabilize our human service workforce," said Spilka. "As a former social worker, I understand the importance of maintaining a strong human services safety net to provide quality care for residents with complex medical needs, disabilities, and mental illness."

Other Spilka amendments to assist persons with disabilities approved by the full Senate include:
•      $50,000 to expand the Best Buddies program to expand to more schools a program designed to promote friendships between students with disabilities and their classmates
•      Increased funding for the state's 11 independent living centers devoted to helping people move out of nursing homes
The Senate also voted to:

•     Expand the state's bottle bill to include non-carbonated drinks such as water, coffee-based drinks and sports drinks;
•     Increase funding for Youth-at-Risk Summer Jobs by $1 million to $9 million;
•     Provides $8 million for MassHealth Dental Services.
•     Dedicate $11.5 million for the child care salary reserve, increasing the reimbursement rates for state-subsidized childcare providers;
The Senate plan remains strong on public safety, funding the State Police at $256.1 million for State Police Operations, appropriating monies for a new recruit class, increasing the appropriation for the Municipal Police Training Committee, and increasing funding for Shannon Grants, which provide support to communities hardest hit by gang crime and violence, by $750,000 to $7 million in total funding.

Also included was $11.3 million in new funding for Elder Affairs programs and funds for councils on aging at the highest level of state support ever. The Senate's plan will eliminate existing wait lists for home care services and will increase funding for Foster Care and Adopted Fee Waivers to ensure that the Commonwealth fully reimburses institutions for the tuition and fees for children in foster care or who are adopted regardless of family circumstance.  It adds $1 million for the Turning 22 program that funds the first-year of services for individuals with intellectual disabilities transitioning out of Special Education into adult services.

In addition to targeted investments in many key areas of government, the Senate unanimously approved an amendment to reform sex offender registry laws.  The proposal strengthens the procedures for classifying convicted sex offenders and ensures that the Sex Offender Registry Board has the information it needs to protect our children and communities.

The Senate also unanimously approved an amendment filed by Senate President Therese Murray to establish an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) registry, to be known as the Argeo Paul Cellucci Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Registry, named for the former Massachusetts Governor who suffers from the fatal disease.

Importantly, the Senate paused during its second day of public debate to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to our country.  As in previous years, members read the names of service members who were killed in action during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom as part of the ceremony.  The same day, the Senate moved to adopt Spilka's amendment to provide $15,000 to help fund the Town of Medway's efforts to bring the Vietnam Moving Wall to town for its 300th anniversary on May 30 through June 3, 2013. 

Spilka commented:  "Remembering the sacrifices made by our veterans, those who lost their lives and those who have had their lives changed forever as a result of their service, is the duty of all Americans.

The Senate's budget for FY14 prioritizes resources for vital programs that help people, families, and communities, including significant increases for mental health services and for sustainable housing.  Although Massachusetts continues to recover from the recession at a rate faster than most states, many programs that offer key services still have not seen funding levels restored to before the economic downturn.  This budget targets many of those investments key to continuing the state's recovery and confronts remaining challenges.