Saturday, March 8, 2008

Video of the FY09 School Budget

What is FY09?

Fiscal Year 2009 which begins July 1, 2008 and runs through June 30, 2009. This is the budget cycle for the school year beginning September 2008 and running through June 2009.

The School Committee blog
has some video from the FY09 budget presentation at the 2/26/08 School Committee meeting.

The FY09 budget

The High School renovation options

The audio recording for the 2/26/08 School Committee meeting can be found here. It is broken out into sections to enable easy access.

Teacher layoffs now a conversation item

Posted Mar 07, 2008 @ 11:26 PM


Responding to the recent announcement that the School Department will lay off 45 teachers next year, parent groups have been letting school officials know they are "very curious" what the impact will be on their children, said Superintendent Wayne Ogden.

And newer teachers are starting to panic, Ogden said.

"Many of our younger, less experienced staff are all very nervous about it because seniority plays into it, and they are the most vulnerable," said Ogden.

The School Committee received its budget two weeks ago, and the group is deliberating on it, Ogden said.

Read the remainder of the article here

And participate in one or more of these sessions to find out more information on what the school budget means for you and your family:

School Committee members will meet with parent communication groups in the coming weeks as follows:

April 4, at 9 a.m., at Davis Thayer;
April 11, at 8:45 a.m. at Jefferson;
March 14, at 9 a.m., at Kennedy;
March 19, at 9 a.m., Sullivan Middle School;
April 8, at 9 a.m., at Horace Mann;
March 12 at 7 p.m. at Remington; and
May 7 at 7 p.m. at Franklin High School.

Friday, March 7, 2008

In the news: Davis Thayer Invention convention

Posted Mar 07, 2008 @ 12:01 AM


Where can you find a Rabbit Elevator, two versions of a humane mouse trap, a Pet-o-matic, and the Trash Carrier 2008?

The fifth-grade Invention Convention at the Davis Thayer School lays exclusive claim to these ingenious contraptions, along with 44 other inventions, dreamed up by fifth-graders over the last several weeks.

Fifth-grade teachers Jennifer Alger and Caitlin Colahan instructed students to invent a product using three of a number of simple machines which would solve one of life's daily problems, including a lever, pulley, hinge and inclined planes.

Read the rest of the article here.

Franklin Industry: Liko - health care patient lifts

A recent press release tells us about a new product from Liko:

FRANKLIN, Mass., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Many of the newer model beds and stretchers emerging onto the healthcare market utilize components such as frames and drive mechanisms that are within just a few inches of the floor. This means traditional mobile patient lifts can be difficult to use because their legs normally are too high to extend under these beds and stretchers. Liko's newly introduced Golvo LowBase(TM) model circumvents this problem with a lower total leg height, including wheels, of only 2 1/3 inches.

Liko's Golvo is unique among mobile lifts due to its flexible lift strap, vertical lifting motion, and parallel widening base legs. Originally introduced in 1986, Golvo represented a breakthrough in mobile lift design because its unique telescoping mast and lifting strap enabled patients to be lifted vertically, similar to an overhead ceiling mounted lifting system.

The new Golvo 7007 LowBase(TM) model is an ideal solution for applications such as lifting or transferring patients to or from low profile beds or stretchers. In addition to its low bed compatibility, the Golvo 7007 LowBase(TM) is ideal for lifts to/from the floor, horizontal lifts, and ambulation assistance for patients weighing up to 440 lbs.

About Liko North America

Liko North America is one of the world's leading suppliers of patient lifts, including mobile, overhead rail, sit-to-stand, and bariatric lifts, as well as a selection of more than 250 slings and accessories. The company is also the exclusive sponsor of the pro bono "Safe Lifting Environment" campaign designed to help prevent caregiver injuries (visit for more details). For more information on Liko's complete line of patient lifts, contact Liko North America, 122 Grove Street, Franklin, MA 02038. Telephone (888) 545-6671 or (508) 553-3993; fax (508) 528-6642, or visit the Liko website at

Franklin does have a varied industrial base, for previous posts on industry located here, follow this link.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

In the news - birthday cake, town budget update

Happy birthday, Franklin

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting announced that he is finishing next year's town budget proposal and will have it ready next Friday.

"Obviously, budget requests (from department heads) and funds available - there's a big gap between them," said Nutting, encouraging anyone with questions to call his office. He also noted that "Old Man Winter came again" and put more stress on the town's snow and ice spending, which was $340,000 over budget prior to last week's snowstorm.

Also at last night's meeting, Town Clerk Deborah L. Pellegri invited all the town's citizens to stop by Town Hall today for a piece of birthday cake to celebrate Franklin's 230th birthday.

Read the remainder of the article here

Oak St PCC Meeting 3/6/08 6:00 PM

The next meeting of the Oak St PCC will be held at 6:00 PM, March 6th in the Oak St cafeteria.

According to the flyer that went home to Oak St parents:

At our March 6 meeting, we will host town officials to discuss school budget issues and answer questions. We have invited Ed Cafasso, a Franklin School Committee member, and a Franklin Town Council representative as our guests. So please join us for a budget discussion.

Boston Globe - At home in downtown Franklin

In can you missed this good summary from the Sunday Boston Globe:


At home in downtown Franklin

Fifth in a series

FOR MOST of its existence, Franklin looked like a New England town straight out of Currier & Ives. And in some ways, it still does. While the town center languished as the region's mills declined, it still boasts a compact business district surrounded by historic homes and the leafy campus of Dean College.

During the tech boom of the 1990s, Franklin, 25 miles from Boston, turned into something else: the quintessential Interstate 495 exurb. Flex-space buildings and shopping centers clustered along the highway, and new subdivisions sprawled across what had been open space.

But that rapid development has slowed, and in recent years Franklin began confronting the problems that past growth had left behind. Among other things, that meant knitting Franklin back together by revitalizing the town center. "We had a traditional dying downtown," says Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting. Yet with an MBTA commuter rail station in the heart of town, Franklin was primed to capitalize on a movement toward transit-oriented growth.

So businesses and civic groups formed the Franklin Downtown Partnership to push for beautification and economic development. In 2001, Franklin rezoned roughly 40 acres in the town center to allow for mixed-use development; the old zoning forbade new housing in commercial zones. Because it's hard to get around without a car, Franklin joined the Greater Attleborough Taunton Regional Transit Authority and will inaugurate a bus line in March. Franklin is now using a $5 million federal grant to improve traffic flow and make other streetscape improvements downtown.

The goal, as the partnership puts it, is to make Franklin "the 'up and coming' downtown of the western suburbs." These efforts are starting to bear fruit. Since last summer, developer John Marini of Canton has completed two mixed-use buildings that are part of the $35 million Franklin Center Commons project. A third is underway, and a fourth is also planned.

Even so, this model of redevelopment remains an experiment, in Franklin and elsewhere. It gained currency during a period of economic prosperity. And to the extent that its power depends on the popularity of cute shops and upscale condos, its prospects are less certain now, as the economy falters.

Unsustainable development
Franklin grew faster in the '90s than all but a smattering of Massachusetts towns - from 22,000 residents in 1990 to more than 32,000 today. Eventually, spec houses with stiff pricetags were replacing green fields in the town, once an affordable alternative to communities closer to Boston. But this centrifugal style of development puts too many strains on public services and the environment.

As part of a project known as MetroFuture, an effort to promote sustainable development in Eastern Massachusetts, the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission studied how towns might evolve in the future. Had Franklin continued to sprawl as it did in the '90s, it would be on track to lose 2,600 acres of open space to development by 2030. In contrast, by steering development to existing population centers, areas near public transit routes, and previously developed land, the town can accommodate almost as much population growth - but would lose fewer than 1,000 acres of undeveloped land.

Ironically, the consequences of past sprawl may be helping downtown revival efforts. "The reason downtown fell into problems," says Bryan Taberner, Franklin's new planning director, "is that there was a lot of land available" elsewhere in the town. Now, he says, undeveloped land has become scarcer and more expensive, so downtown redevelopment looks more attractive than it used to. And while the construction of retail shops alone can be cost-prohibitive because of land prices, mixed-use developers can generate more revenue on the same parcel by adding one or more floors of offices and apartments above stores.

The Franklin Center Commons project suggests that the market has caught on to the advantages of such development. While the town used a grant to demolish a piano factory that once stood on part of the project site, Marini has otherwise relied on private money.

Cautionary notes
But as ambitious as that project is, it hasn't yet ushered in a mass movement back to downtown. While Marini now specializes in mixed-use development in town centers, Franklin officials say their efforts to revive their downtown haven't yet lured the kind of developers who normally build on undeveloped land on the outskirts of town.

While Franklin has been adding fewer than 100 single-family homes a year throughout this decade, about 350 such homes were built in each of the two peak years of the '90s construction boom. By comparison, the Franklin Center Commons project plan calls for only 77 condos. And even that number isn't firm; Marini says he may seek to replace condo units in one proposed building with office space, because of a weak housing market.

Moreover, while Marini thinks his new retail space will rent for a premium - about $20 to $24 per square foot, he says, compared with $12 or so in older buildings - he has yet to find tenants for much of it. Amid all of Franklin's exertions and aspirations, the laws of retail physics still apply: The town isn't just competing with other downtowns for upscale shoppers; it's also competing with nearby Wrentham Village - an outlet mall so popular that it shows up in Japanese travel books.

Of course, there's more to downtown redevelopment than just luring retail stores. "That's the easiest thing," says Marc Draisen, chairman of the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. He stresses the benefits of luring corporate employers to downtowns instead of to anonymous office parks. Then again, Nutting says, the amount of vacant office space elsewhere in the region may make Franklin's downtown a tough sell.

Even so, he figures Franklin is keeping pace with other downtowns with similar aspirations. "It's not like we've done one thing and said, 'That's it,' " Nutting says. "This is in perpetuity." Downtown Franklin frayed over the course of decades. Efforts to revive it won't succeed overnight.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Remainder of the Town Council meeting 3/5/08 (audio)

The remainder of the Town Council meeting; license transfer recinded, paving money accepted, gift from the Friends of the Franklin Library accepted, second reading on bylaw amendments, etc.

Time: 27 minutes, 48 seconds

MP3 File

Citizens Comment - Rich GilDeRubio (audio)

Rich GilDeRubio makes his citizens comment questioning the proposed transfer of the school custodians to the Town. He also questions how a letter he sent to the Town Council apparently was not received by an individual councilor yet was received by other members of the Town Administration.

Time: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

MP3 File

Town Council Meeting Summary 3/5/08

The meeting was brief (approx 35 minutes total)

Opening - Citizens Comment Jane Curran (audio)

Citizens Comment - Rich GilDeRubio (audio)

Remainder of meeting (audio)

Opening Minutes 3/5/08 (audio)

The Franklin Town Council meeting opens with the normal moment of silence, Pledge of Allegiance, and a citizens comment from Jane Curran, Franklin Downtown Partnership and Jane's Frames

Time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

MP3 File

Hopedale sports fees to increase

The cost to play a school sport will increase substantially over the next five years, according to a plan the School Committee approved at its meeting last night.

Starting next school year, the cost to play a varsity or junior varsity sport will rise by $14 per year through 2012-13, reaching $195 per sport. The seasonal and annual limits on what one family pays for athletics will also be removed in the plan.

Franklin may have to dip into savings

Franklin may have to dip into savings

Finance Committee update for 3/4/08

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On the same page

On the same page, originally uploaded by shersteve.


Thursday, March 7, 7PM
Scrapbooking with Charleen Belcher

Wednesday, March 19, 3:30PM
Dear America Children's Book Discussion

Thursday, March 20, 7:30PM
Sean Murphy with Big Dig Stories

Saturday, March 29, 8:30-4PM
2008 New England Family History Conference
91 Jordan Road
Franklin, MA 02038

Check out the library page to see if there are any updates to this schedule.

Where in Franklin? #34

Where in Franklin? #34, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Where would you find this row of cars and flags in Franklin?

The guidelines for playing "Where in Franklin?" can be found here.


Where in Franklin? Answer #33

Where in Franklin? Answer #33, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Steve correctly identified picture #33 as part of the Franklin Commons on East Central St near Dunkin Dounts and Goodyear.

Thanks for playing Steve!

Stay tuned for the next in the series "Where in Franklin?"

Town Council Meeting agenda for 3/5/08

The agenda for the Town Council Meeting 3/5/08 has been posted to the town web site here. The PDF File with the details, previous minutes, etc. can be found here.


Worthy of note in this agenda is the acceptance of Executive Session minutes from 1/23/08 (maybe a mistake as the copy is not actually included, and the copy that is included references the notes as of the meeting 1/9/08), October 27, 2007 and September 5, 2007.

What makes these note worthy?

The contract for the Town Administrator was approved with a 9-0 vote on 9/5/07. During the meeting 10/27/07, the contract still had not been signed so it could not be announced.

Were there other Executive Meeting minutes where this was discussed before the announcement finally became public?

Ah, maybe that is what is in the 1/23/08 minutes that weren't included?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Recap of School Budget situation

The School Committee meeting on 2/26/08 was long and eventful. The audio sections for the meeting are available here.

If you can't spend three hours listening to the meeting, you can skip to the appropriate section to get the original voices for the following items:

  • Franklin is receiving $2.4 M from the Dept. of Education, effectively a 9% increase over FY08 for the schools
  • The Town, however, is planning for the schools to only receive a 1.5% increase in funding over FY08 which results in the expected layoffs of 45 teachers, increased busing fees, and increased class sizes.
  • Rep Vallee does a wonderful job obtaining money for Franklin but it won't last forever.
  • The High School renovation options cost $90-100 million which is cheaper than building a new school which would cost $120-130 million.
  • The FHS accreditation is on "warning" status now due to the inaction in addressing the high school facility shortcomings. This was expected.
  • The Forensic Report has triggered a number of actions by the School Dept amongst them cost center based budgets (each school is now a cost center), improved accounting of funds in the budget, and interviews for a new finance director were scheduled for 2/27/08.
  • The KCD Policy passed by a vote of 6-1 which now requires all donations to be applied to non-operating expenses and rejects funds previously targeted for specific operational efforts (i.e. the Brick classroom).
  • The communications campaign about the real health issues amongst the Franklin school population as reported in the MetroWest Survey is about to begin with a gathering of representatives from the various groups and organizations in the town. The report will be reviewed in that forum. That group will then make plans for communicating and taking action to address the issues.

from the School Committee blog - FY09 Budget

FY09 budget presentation

By Jeffrey Roy on Budget

On February 26, 2008, Superintendent Wayne Ogden presented the proposed FY09 budget to the School Committee. During the presentation, Ogden explained that the school department needs a 6.7 percent budget increase to provide level service, but is slated to receive only 1.5 percent from the town. This includes the loss of about $400,000 in projected [...]


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Completing the Superintendent's Report (audio)

The remaining items of the Superintendent's report for this meeting. Wayne Ogden has already covered much of them with the prior presentations, here he gets into (1) an update on the MetroWest Health Study and next steps and (2) an update on the actions from the Forensic Report.

The meeting goes into Executive Session with a roll call vote.

Time: 7 minutes, 12 seconds

MP3 File

FHS Accreditation Warning Received (audio)

During the Superintendent's Report, Wayne Ogden talks about the warning letter received by the High School from the accreditation body due to the lack of progress being made on the issues with the facility that were brought up previously.

If progress is not made, the next step would be "probation" and the final step could be removal of accreditation from the high school.

The School Committee is looking to form a building committee in the next several weeks.

Time: 12 minutes, 25 seconds

MP3 File

KCD Policy - Gifts (audio)

The School Committee gets to the final discussion and vote on the policy. Matt Kelly attempts to amend the form and when that fails he remains as the lone negative vote when the policy passes 6-1.

Deb Pellegri speaks on behalf of the Brick School Association.

Time: 23 minutes, 23 seconds

MP3 File

Some of the Actions items (audio)

Some were covered with the budget transfers, these are the first action items before they get to the one big discussion on the KCD Policy.

Time: 1 minute, 11 seconds

MP3 File

FY 2007 2008 budget transfers (audio)

Three actions: (1) to close out FY07 with some transfers to balence the accounts for the closed fiscal year. (2) Acceptence of the total bottomline number for FY08 now that the audit findings have been reconciled. (3) The first of several periodic transfers amongst line items in the budget as per the recommendation by the Forensic Audit.

Time: 19 minutes, 11 seconds

MP3 File

FY09 Budget Q&A Part 2 (audio)

The second part of the Q&A on the FY09 Budget discussion. Broken into two parts only for the sake of splitting into smaller sections. Discussion involved Rohrbach, Kelly, Roy, Ogden, and Sabolinski.

Time: 17 minutes, 27 seconds

MP3 File

FY09 Budget Q&A Part 1 (audio)

Following the presentation on the FY09 budget, this is part 1 of the Q&A session. Participating in this section are Cafasso, Roy, Ogden, Sabolinski, and Mullen.

Time: 18 minutes, 48 seconds

MP3 File

In the Globe today

Schools set to cut 45 staff, teachers

By Rachel Lebeaux, Globe Correspondent

Franklin schools could lay off 45 teachers and other staff members next year in what's shaping up to be a particularly grim budget season.


Where in Franklin? #33

Where in Franklin? #33, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Can you identify where this porch and building is located in Franklin?

The guidelines for playing "Where in Franklin?" can be found here.

Have fun!

Where in Franklin? Answer #32

Where in Franklin? Answer #32, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Anonymous provided the correct answer to picture #32. Yes, it is Ficco's Bowladrome on East Central St (RT 140).

Stay tuned for the next challenge!

Thank you all for playing.

In the news - FHS could cost big bucks

Franklin High renovation could near $100 million

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

The School Committee was left in ``sticker shock'' last week after hearing the price of each option to repair or rebuild Franklin High School.

Kaestle Boos Associates presented three design options for renovating and adding to the building, with costs ranging from $93 to $100 million, and a fourth scenario to build a completely new school for $120 to $130 million.

The School Committee began discussions on repairing the high school in 2005, when the New England Association of Schools and Colleges issued its evaluation of the building, which called for major structural improvements. The association said the school, built in 1971, was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the locker rooms were in disrepair, the floors needed to be fixed, and noted the lack of an auditorium, among other problems, said School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.
Read the remainder of the article here.

You can also listen to the presentation and Q&A period from the School Committee meeting here.