Monday, September 8, 2008

Tom Sousa Letter to Editor

This was in the print edition of the Franklin Gazette but unfortunately is not found in their online edition. The last "Letter to the Editor" on their web site is from October 1, 2007. Tom's letter is well argued so I asked if I could republish it here and he granted permission to do so. Thanks, Tom!

Franklin’s School Superintendent Wayne Ogden’s resignation this week was very disturbing to many people. Reading Mr. Ogden’s quotes, it seems to me he resigned because he felt he couldn’t improve the school system with diminishing funds and a lack of community support.

What’s happening to Franklin? A telling sign on the state of Franklin’s education system is that approximately 10% of the incoming Franklin Freshman High School boys are going to private schools! Will we have to continue to ship our kids out of town to ensure they receive a proper education? What about those less fortunate who can’t do this?

Milford Daily News blog contributors hammered Mr. Ogden, and belittled those who appointed him, as if his departure is the critical issue at hand here. Ogden's departure is a telling sign that he doesn't want to be associated with a failing school system, because we, the people of Franklin, are incapable of managing and controlling our budget and finances.

What are "we" the residents, thinking here? Okay, okay, we didn't pass another Proposition 2.5 because our taxes would be too high, right? Why did we have to lay off 70 school employees? Since the population has almost doubled in the last 12-15 years, all of the residents with kids can only blame themselves for this happening!

Franklin’s tax rate is still one of the lowest in the state! Think about that… Franklin, voted as one of the "Best places to bring up kids”, and to “Start a Small Business” in the country has a lower tax rate than more commercialized towns like Milford? Millis, Medway, Wrentham and Norfolk have fewer infrastructures to support, some shared High Schools and yet they have higher tax rates than us; what makes us think we shouldn’t pay more to get something similar? Franklin residents must understand that all of our property values will diminish if our school system continues to wane.

I would hope that when decision time comes around again, that Franklin residents with children and grandchildren, and the Franklin residents with businesses, and the Franklin residents with town pride, and the Franklin residents that have history here will all stand up together and understand and accept that change has occurred here, and some of it seemingly out of our control. With this change though, comes a financial responsibility for the betterment of our way of life, and for that of our children and our elderly.

Can we prioritize our spending between safety (new Fire House), our history (new Sr. Center), and our future (education budget)? I think there could be a balance, there should be a balance, but the first thing we need to do is get the ship straightened out! I don't know what the answer to this problem is; I am not a politician.

Best wishes, Mr. Ogden. I for one cannot blame you for your departure. I wouldn't want this bloody situation on my hands either.

Thanks; Tom Sousa, 508.954.2911 (c),

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