Monday, September 1, 2008

Ed Cafasso Letter - Part 1

Hello everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend. As we begin the 2008-09 school year in Franklin, I want to share you with some objective facts about the state of your schools.

The first section of the report below provides a summary of academic performance in Franklin as of today. A second section summarizes the financial performance of the school district based on the most recent data available.

To me, as a parent, a citizen and a member of the School Committee, this data demonstrates that, up to now, the Franklin Public Schools have been high performing academically and have used taxpayer resources in a highly efficient manner to produce those results. How long can it continue? That’s the big question. You be the judge.

Academic Performance

The Franklin Public Schools received four commendations in 2007-08 from the Office of Educational Quality Assurance (EQA) that directly affect and speak to student performance: High MCAS scores, curricular alignment with state frameworks, the district professional development program, and the mentoring program.

The district analysis of the 2007 MCAS data continues to identify the Franklin Public School System as a “high performance” district in all tests at all grade levels.

  • All students continue to outperform the state averages on the same tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science/Technology Engineering (STE).
  • All 17 tests, including three Long Composition tests, given in Grades 4, 7, and 10 scored a “High” (80-89.9) or “Very High” (90-100) performance rating.
  • MCAS 2007 included, for the first time, the addition of a science competency test at the high school. Students in the class of 2010 must pass a STE test to graduate. The district identified Biology as the test of choice since Biology is a requirement for graduation. The 2007 Grade 9 Biology CPI was 96.7 (Very High), outperforming the state by two performance ratings.
  • All Special Education subgroups in Grades 3-10 achieved a higher proficiency index than state subgroups in each of the subject tests.
  • All Low Income subgroups achieved higher proficiency indices (PI) than the state subgroups in each tested area with the exception of Grade 7 ELA, which scored equal to that of the state subgroup, and Grade 8 Math, which came in at 3 PI points below that of the state subgroup.
  • When compared with 28 top-performing districts in the state by AYP grade levels (3-5, 6-8, 9-12), Franklin outperformed 14 districts in one or more of these AYP reporting categories.
  • At the high school, 105 students were awarded the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship based on their Grade 10 MCAS performance. Students qualified for this scholarship by scoring: (a) in the Advanced category in English Language Arts or Mathematics and Advanced or Proficient in the other subject area on the grade 10 MCAS assessments; and, (b) in the top 25% of the students in the district on these tests.

The complete MCAS report may be found on the Franklin Public Schools main web page at the following link:

In addition, the Franklin schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard for 2007 in both ELA and Mathematics. This is an important improvement indicator for Franklin and identifies the district as “No Status” for two years running. From 2003-2005, the district did not meet AYP (subgroups only). In 2006, the district made AYP and maintained this status for a second year (2007). This two-year performance has officially removed the Franklin Public Schools from the “Identified for Improvement – subgroups” status.

District and school NCLB Report Cards may be viewed on the Franklin Public Schools website at the following link:

At Franklin High School, the graduation rate for the Class of 2008 was 98.7%. Of the graduates, 73.1% chose to attend a public or private four-year college, and 15.4% chose to attend a public or private four-year college. Graduates chose to attend a wide range of well-known colleges or universities, including Boston College, Boston University, Bates, Brandeis, Dean College, Harvard, Hofstra, Northeastern, Providence, Syracuse, University of Pennsylvania, and U-Mass.

School Financial Performance

According to April 2008 data from Massachusetts Department of Education, Franklin spent $9,586 per pupil. (This data is for the 2006-07 academic year, the most recent calculated by the state.)

Fifty-one (51) school districts spent less per pupil than Franklin, and 277 spent more per pupil than Franklin. In other words, 84% of the school districts in the state spent more per pupil than Franklin. The average per pupil expenditure among school districts in Massachusetts stood at $11,859, which was $2,273 more than Franklin’s.

  • Franklin spent $201 per pupil on school administration. The state average was $401
  • Franklin spent $480 per pupil on instructional leadership. The state average was $770.
  • Franklin spent $4,718 per pupil on classroom and specialist teachers. The state average was $4,513.
  • Franklin spent $90 per pupil on professional development. The state average was $222.
  • Franklin spent $190 per pupil on instructional materials, equipment and technology. The state average was $356.
  • Franklin spent $213 per pupil on guidance and counseling. The state average was $328.
  • Franklin spent $862 per pupil on pupil services. The state average was $1,081.
  • Franklin spent $923 per pupil on operations and maintenance. The state average was $1,041.
  • Franklin spent $908 per pupil on insurance and retirement programs. The state average was $1,929.

The average teacher salary in Franklin stood at $56,366, according to the DOE data. Statewide, the average teacher salary was $58,257.

Franklin’s budget for fiscal year 2009 is approximately $88 million. The school budget for the current academic year is $49.9 million, approximately $3 million less than the amount required to maintain the same level of service as last year. The town budget is funded largely by two key revenue streams – property taxes, which provide $48.8 million or 55% of the total, and state and local aid, which provides $33.5 million or about 38% of the total.

Chapter 70 education aid accounts for the vast majority of the state aid distributed to Franklin and totals $28.7 million in the current fiscal year. Almost 58% of the budget of Franklin Public Schools is paid for through Chapter 70 funds.

Enjoy the weekend! I plan to e-mail a second school update tomorrow evening.

These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. If you are receiving duplicates or if you no longer wish to receive these updates, please let me know. If you know of someone you would like to add to the distribution list, please send along their email address. Thanks!

Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

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