Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yes, Salem is close to Franklin

Salem delays layoffs to seek state aid

Salem is delaying the layoffs of about 60 school employees to seek emergency aid from the Legislature.


State bailout for Salem schools near

SALEM - Layoffs in this city's financially troubled public schools were postponed yesterday, hours before they were to go into effect, as state and local officials put the final touches on emergency legislation to allow Salem to borrow up to $1 million.


No, not geographically. The fiscal problem they are in the middle of as reported in the two Boston Globe articles (above), we were very close to.

City officials have publicly said that the shortfall was caused in part by a former school business manager who used money from this year's school budget to pay off old bills. This week, at the request of the School Committee, Salem police began investigating Bruce Guy, who is also a former city finance director, to examine whether municipal finance laws were broken. Guy has not responded to the Globe's repeated requests for an interview.
What happened there is what did occur here. One prime difference is in the amount of money. The total deficit (at a point in time) in Franklin was $1.5 million. The actual shortfall was $894,000 which was covered by our stabilization fund. Fortunately, that amount was available. Salem was looking for $4.7 million.

Just imagine what would happen to our schools if we were forced to make the cuts they were about to make.

Paying attention to the Franklin's school and town business is a serious matter! Stay informed!

Nutting quietly got new 3 year deal last year

Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting confirmed this week that he has been working under a new, three-year contract.

The contract was negotiated with the council and signed shortly before the town's Nov. 6 election, Nutting said, with the terms retroactively taking effect a few months before in July.

Under Nutting's new deal, he gets a 2 1/2 percent raise this year, with subsequent raises up to the council as part of their annual review. Nutting received a $119,978 salary and a $5,983 car allowance in 2006, according to the town's most recent annual report.

Michael Morton reports the remainder of the details in his article in the Milford Daily News

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In the news - street play, teacher citizenship, betting on a budget

Game over for street play?

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

FRANKLIN - Under a strict reading of a bylaw revision proposed at last night's council meeting, children playing baseball or having a snowball fight on town streets and sidewalks could get a disappointing message: game over.


Teacher feted for getting U.S. citizenship

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

FRANKLIN - When French teacher Mireille Malouf walked into the auditorium at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School yesterday, she thought she had come for an assembly with a broad patriotic theme.


Local towns would get more state aid

By Matt Kakley/Daily News correspondent

The town of Milford would receive a 10 percent increase in local aid and Franklin would receive an additional 7 percent under Gov. Deval Patrick's budget proposal.


Patrick's budget plan would rely on casino revenue

By Lindsey Parietti/Daily News staff

BOSTON - Gov. Deval Patrick released a $28 billion budget proposal yesterday, banking on casino licensing fees to fund local aid and challenging his critics in the Legislature to come up with their own solutions to the state's fiscal challenges.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dean College gets $1 Million

(CSRwire) FRANKLIN, MA – January 23, 2008 - Accenture Chairman & CEO William D. Green has donated a gift worth $1 million to Dean College, where he received an associates degree in 1974. The gift is the largest from a living donor in the college's history.

"When Bill Green and his family made the decision to give this inspiring gift to the college, they were making a bold statement about the value of a Dean education," said Dean President Paula M. Rooney. "Bill has always been an inspiration to our students, our staff, and quite clearly to the business world. He always seems to have Dean students on his mind and works diligently as a trustee and an alumnus to continue to make Dean a place where students succeed. He created such excitement and energy when he addressed our students in October - urging them to find their passion and confidence and telling them that they will go farther than they can imagine. This gift will help the College expand the mentoring and support that Bill calls the 'primary ingredient of Dean's special sauce.'"

Green, known as a leader who seeks to "educate, energize and inspire" the more than 175,000 Accenture professionals around the globe, has credited this ability and his success in large part to his start at Dean College.
Read the remainder of this good news for Dean College here

Visit the Dean College web site here.

Inflation and operating costs have far outpaced state spending on education

Inflation and operating costs have far outpaced state spending on education, putting intense financial pressure on a broad spectrum of school districts across the state, according to a preliminary report released yesterday.

The report, by the Massachusetts Department of Education, found that while healthcare, salaries, and special education program costs have escalated sharply, state funding has remained stagnant since 2003. As a result, cities and towns have had to shoulder a greater portion of the burden, raising property taxes and instituting fees for once-standard services, such as bus transportation and athletics, in order to make ends meet.

The increased costs also mean that school districts are spending a smaller percentage of their budgets on student instruction and salaries for teachers, guidance counselors, and other employees who have direct contact with students, according to the report. On average, districts spent just 51 percent of their budgets on instruction, a decrease of 6 percentage points since 2002.

Read the full article in today's Boston Globe

Town Council Agenda 1/23/08

The agenda for the Town Council meeting today is available here.

Donation policy - first reading

Targeted donations under review

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

FRANKLIN - The School Committee took the first step last night toward restricting what donations it will accept, potentially cutting off a future funding source for running the Red Brick School.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Hat Lady - Susan Johnson

Hats off to having fun

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

FRANKLIN - The Hat Lady has a confession: There was a time when she didn't like hats, even ones with flying pigs on them.


The article includes a YouTube video clip of Susan and some of her many hats.

Dam, another expense to consider

Earthen dam poses risk to development

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

FRANKLIN - A dam at the DelCarte conservation area is at risk of collapsing, according to a report released last week, a development that could threaten downstream homes.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Franklin Commuter Update

No Amtrak strike!

The worries about the Amtrak strike disrupting the commute into Boston can relax now, Amtrak has a reached deal. The new Associated Press article with the details can be found here.

Now, the MBTA/MBCR need to concentrate on running on schedule.

Where in Franklin? Answer #27

Where in Franklin? Answer #27, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Ken Norman correctly identified the location of the odd looking devices in photo #27 as the vacuum cleaners at the East Central Street Car Wash located between McDonald's and the Town Municipal Building.

Thanks for playing "Where in Franklin?", Ken!

Stay tuned for the next photo.