Saturday, September 6, 2008

In the News - GATRA schedule change, fund raisers for youth

Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 05, 2008 @ 04:55 PM


Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, GATRA will begin its new, expanded bus service, bringing riders to the movies and shops at the Bellingham Shopping Center and Barnes & Noble plaza off Rte. 495. The new route also includes a few stops to pick up high school and middle school students (who walk to the high school) at Franklin High School, 218 Oak St., before and after school. The bus will stop at Franklin High at 7:09 a.m., 2:10 p.m., and 3:08 p.m.

For more information about the new GATRA service, please see the Sunday edition of the Daily News on Sept. 7.

Yes, the service change starts today but you get to find out about the new schedule tomorrow. Go figure that one out!


Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 05, 2008 @ 04:48 PM


The Franklin Music Boosters is holding a car wash, $5/car, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with a raindate of Sunday at the Pizzeria Uno's in Bellingham, through Franklin public schools' "Dough Rai$ers" fundraising program. Pizzera Uno is sponsoring the car wash and dining coupon program - giving proceeds directly to the Franklin Music Boosters.

Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill is located at 205 Hartford Ave, Bellingham. Click here for coupons

Also on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Franklin High School Boys Ice Hockey team will hold its can/bottle fundraiser at the Franklin High School parking lot at 218 Oak St. The fundraiser benefits the FHS Boys Ice Hockey Team.

So what does Ashland have to do with these fundraisers? Another one to figure out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ben Franklin questions

Morning question, what good shall I do this day?

Evening question, what good have I done this day?

>From "Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings"

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterzreply-count Replies.

Financial Planning Committee 9/4/08

Financial Planning Committee - my summary

recycle electronics at Gillette Stadium

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Sony Electronics Inc. and Waste Management Recycle America are planning some interceptions of their own with a recycling event to collect old electronic devices and keep them from the waste stream.

The drive-through event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the stadium, is part of Sony's Take Back Recycling program, which provides free recycling for its products.

On Saturday, however, all brands of electronics will be accepted, including everything from cell phones, computers and monitors, to televisions, radios, DVD and MP3 players, pagers, personal digital assistants and other devices.

"It's all brands of household electronics," said Wes Muir, director of corporate communications for Waste Management.

The event does not include white goods, microwaves, power tools, or the like, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Updated with a picture and description of the logistic marvel the recycling event here

"Somebody with the energy and enthusiasm"

Posted Sep 04, 2008 @ 11:26 PM
Last update Sep 05, 2008 @ 12:48 AM


In the wake of sizable layoffs, program cuts, increased fees and, most recently, Superintendent Wayne Ogden's resignation announcement, the school community must remember its pursuit of greatness, School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy said.

Many are disappointed Ogden is leaving at end of the school year, he said, but district leaders "still have a job to do," he said.

"One person can't make or break a district. We have 1,000 employees in Franklin public schools, and every person is an integral part of that team. It doesn't rise or fall on one person's shoulders.

"A really good leader can leave the team and (still) have a great system in place. I think we have that leader and that team," said Roy.

read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Financial Planning Committee - my summary

I was quite pleased with the meeting tonight. I was concerned after the no shows from the meeting on 8/21/08. This group still has it's work cut out for them but I think they have the proper approach.

I suggested to them to work through each item, obtain the numbers and the in's and out's of the various options as the department heads come to present. Be careful to not get wrapped into trying to solve the problem. Focus on gathering the information. Once it is all together, then you can look at making some sense of it and starting to tell the story. An hour for each department will not be enough if you try to solve the problem as you go.

Jeff's statement that in MA we have two choices (continue to increase taxes to pay for services, or cut services) is not understood or accepted. There will be a major challenge in painting the picture so that each person can see what the impact is for them. For the school family, for the senior citizen, for the driver on the road being constructed. Each will need to understand the issue of this is what we get for this amount, or this is what you get for that amount.

Live reporting - wrap up

Citizen 1 (name to be provided later) made reference to the Arlington plan, building confidence with the Town, trust. Look at the five year goals. Police, ambulance; I don't notice those.

Stacy Bower: I did like to see more residents here. Can the meetings be televised? People don't know what you are doing.

Jeff: Usually will bump up against the Zoning Board which has the Council Chamber.

Steve: It is a good idea.

Jim: Our game plan is to do some public forums.

Sep 18th next meeting

live reporting - process continued

Jeff: state aid will be very lean next year

Jim: they might also repeal the income tax

Jeff: that would be a disaster and relatively easier to deal with

Doug: if level service would lead us on a trajectory that would endanger us with accreditation

Wayne: we are already on probation for the high school facility, we are notifying them of the teacher cuts which may change that status. The school committee was notified of this.

Jim: come from with a level service budget beginning

Doug: two options, really. one with level service, two what would we propose to cut to maintain the budget within the level allowed.

Jeff: this is the potential menu, one or more of these scenarios will get us to the number

Gwynne: if you cut some number from roads, what does that mean for me. If you could say that the work on Daniels instead of being completed in 2009 would be completed in 2012, that might be more meaningful. That is just an example.

Doug: even loosing 17 teachers tells most folks nothing

Jeff: we had 50 police officers in 2001 and we have 42 today. Did you see that? It is really hard to show that to the average citizens.

Wayne: in 2002 I had 500 teachers, this year we have 430 with 350 more students. This is more easily shown

Rebecca: it would be easier to tell the school story, everyone either has someone in the schools or knows someone with one in the schools. this is a family town

Wayne: only 33% of the households have children in the school system

Doug: it has to be more than numbers on paper, it has to be the "so what does it matter"

Jeff: I have asked the department heads for that, it doesn't need to be much but it needs to be at least a bullet item

Gwynne: are there examples from other towns where there were cuts in police and fire and the crime rate rose, etc.

Deb: I don't know that I need to justify every police or fire person when it is a town problem.

Doug: maybe some standard, in response time for police and fire; accreditation for the schools, etc. and by those standards, the metrics could be shown where Franklin relates. What are the metrics we could use?

Jeff: there is no long term answer, there is either more taxes or less services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Every once in a while we may skip a year of the Legislature is generous. There is a minimum level of education required by the law. If you want to maintain the minimum, then other services will be cut to maintain the level.

Deb: some solutions may come out of this, that I my hope

Steve: I hope so

Deb: why can't the inventory of the school library books be counted as part of the town library? if it requires major changes, where do we go to start that process.

Shannon Zollo arrived late

Live reporting - process discussion

Doug Hardesty, Steve Whalen, Rebecca Cameron, Deb Bartlett, Jim Roche, Gwynne Wilschek, Shannon Zollo (late)

Not Present:
Matt Kelly, Roberta Trahan

Adjunct members present:
Jeff Nutting, Wayne Ogden

Discussion on charter for group.

Discussion on the minutes for meetings of June 11, July 10, August 7.
Motion made an approved by unanimous vote to accept minutes.

Discussion on how to gather information on the budget
Jeff is meeting with the Town department head next week to finalize their planning contribution to the discussion. They are developing a model with historical numbers and forecasts based upon known items and capital requirements.

Jim suggested 2 departments per meeting and 1 for the school department

starting with the current budget with additional color explanation with some outlook
A modest increase for me maybe different than someone else would be looking at

The school department took the hit this year that no other Town departments did.

Jeff: need to look at staff assumptions, wage assumptions, student population, High School renovate or replacement, energy assumptions... these type of items need to be looked at

Everyone tends to forget that the schools lost 20 plus positions and the override passed.

The library had a budget several years ago of 900,000. This year they are at 700,000.

Wayne: can provide the information according to the questionnaire Jeff sent to the department heads. I would refer to get a little more guidance to bring the appropriate info to the table.

Steve: I can appreciate that your situation is different and maybe you do need a little more guidance.

Jeff: you need at least a baseline for last year and this year, then the committee can build upon that the assumptions and models to determine what it would look like.

Rebecca: Within 2 1/2, there is very little room.

Jeff: if you stay within the 2 1/2, we need to keep it simple and outline what it would take to stay within.

Rebecca: people don't understand what the details are.

Steve: how do we bridge the gap to get a good discussion when you bring the numbers to the table

Deb: I don't want anyone to bring forth a budget number that would further degrade the level of town services.

Doug: we don't have to make the decision, we need to outline the range of options upon which someone can make a decision

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee meeting

There will be a quorum tonight

Town Council Mtg Summary - 9/3/08

The summary of reports concerning the Town Council meeting of 9/3/08

TOWN COUNCIL - Agenda - 9/3/08

Harvest Festival - 9/21/08

Harvest Festival - 9/21/08

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Live reporting - Administrators report, Councilor comments

Nutting - provided an update on the real story at the Horace Mann complex, a leak not an explosion caused the problem.

Making steady progress on the Norfolk water issue, hopefully we'll get a check at the cut off date so hopefully all things will end well.

Reviewed cell phone usage, reduced minutes by over 6,000 per month.

Old business:
Doak - web site
Nutting - next meeting

New business:
Bartlett - ridership increase if GATRA makes the accomodations

Councilor Comments:
Whalen - Supt resignation, got a wide variety of responses from the town residents. I worked closely with him over the previous months on the override campaigns. When I read his resignation, I was sympathetic. When you deny that person the resources to pursue their talent and interests, then this is not a surprise. I hope we figure out a way to reverse course.

Mason - On the Supt resignation since it was brought up, basing his resignation on the belief that the citizens have backed away from education is stupid and an insult. I don't know of a Franklin voter who voted no intentionally to give up on education.

Pfeffer - also had some negative comments on the resignation

Live reporting - Parking study

2,088 striped parking spaces available
additional unstriped 2 hour parking spaced

77,8 believe there are problems with parking

There is a perception that there are problems when with a little walk there are available spaces available. Can we increase the spots in specific areas? How else can we help to address the perception?

Rarely are more than 80% of the metered spaces utilized.

Bartlett - is there still discussion amongst the businesses to improve the walking within the downtown?
Taberner - while there was good discussion before, I am not sure that has been a current discussion. There is no consensus on a resolution to parking.

Whalen - There is good news on the availability of spaces. It may just be an awareness campaign that is needed.
Taberner - if the town does go down the road of bricks and mortar we should only go forward with businesses as a partnership to share the expense.

Live reporting - presentation on DP&CD

Brian Taberner, Director of Department of Planning and Community Development
Beth Dalhstrom also present at the meeting

Open space and recreation plan due for public review in October 2008

Affordable Housing plan due for 2010

Zoning bylaws
  • Non-conforming use bylaw due to Town Council in 2-4 weeks
  • Sign Bylaw revisions to follow
  • Inclusionary bylaw to follow

Commonwealth Capital
Avg score 76.5, Franklin score 102. Currently only 11 communities have a higher score

Doak - What are the top things that are driving that score?
Taberner - an aggressive and proactive policy development is driving that, will be tougher to get a hig score each year as we go forward. It looks at what you are doing now, not what you did before.

Create a community where entrepreneurs will want to settle and raise their families
Bartlett - given the recent major layoffs, will that pattern affect this?
Taberner - yes, not directly but yes
Nutting - yes, declines in education will cause property values to decline

Nu-Style Property, Grove St
  • may get a brownfields grant to help in this

Town owned properties
working on unresolved parcels and tax title properties

Four Corners: just about ready to go to the Planning Board and begin that process

Business outreach - don't have the resources to go out and attract specific businesses to Franklin. No longer have the Downtown Manager position to do this.

Industrial zone - substantial opporuntity
900,000 sq ft either empty or underutilized

We want to identify and work with the owners to get the property occupied and generating more revenue than it was before.

Downtown Revitilization plan
  • continue to work with the Downtown Partnership
  • establish an image and identiy
  • Promote Franklin as a Historic Commercial District
  • Create and promote Cultural Corridor including a historic walking trail
Bike racks - reimbursable project, need ideas for locations

Public transit - EMC interested, meeting with GATRA later this month to explore options

Live reporting - Zoning bylaw

  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5:Zoning Map: Business to Commercial II- 1st

resumed after recess


Vallee - the business zoning is already set for allowing a number of items

Doak - I worry about things going bad and something else coming in with the change and we wouldn't be able to stop it.

Taberner - this is the ideal zoning for that area.

Nutting - Condos are a good thing for the town. One where there were 1200 residents and 22 students was a favorable deal for the town.

Approved for second reading (unanimous)

Live reporting - rezoning bylaw moved to 2nd Reading

  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5:Zoning Map: Business to Commercial II- 1st Reading
Motion to move to second reading, under discussion

Vallee - I won't for that bylaw until they tell me what they are going to do with that.
Nutting - I heard that they are attempting to get a car dealership in there.

Doak - I share Vallee's concern. I don't think we should change this to open an opportunity for housing or a car dealership.

Nutting - intent is to take a piece of property that does not pay taxes and turn it into a paying property.

(two minute recess)

Live reporting - Resolutions approved

  • Resolution 08-56: Establishing an Economic Opportunity Area
  • Resolution 08-57: Authorizing Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
Further to the Economic Opportunity Area being passed above, there is interest in obtaining the Tax Increment Financing.

Foundation tax collection does not change, the proposal is to provide a tax reduction for the improvement. With the improvements come 200 manufacturing jobs being relocated here from Holliston and RI.

By doing so, the owner would also get state tax credit. If he doesn't do the investment, he doesn't get the tax break.

Approved - unanimously

Live reporting - Street opening bylaw


  • Street Opening Bylaw – Gas Conversions
Doak - can we use discretion to do this instead of changing the bylaw?
Nutting - No, that is a slippery slope.

Whalen - I disagree, I think we are in unchartered waters here. The spot market for home heating and gas prices are still higher than they have been. Anything that we, the Town Council, can do to help our citizens get through this period we should.
Brutus - In an emergency, it is a formality to provide a permit where there is a gas leak. It is between the owner and the gas company (or other utlity company) to repave the street.

Whalen - they are digging up Charles River Dr, what is that for?
Brutus - Verizon is putting in FIOS there. It is permissible because of the age of the road.

Vallee - We have to protect the roads. I helped work this bylaw. It needs to be tightened.
Brutus - the builder had the option to tie in when the road was being done. Others in the development tied in at that time. It is unfortunate that he happened to buy into the property after the opportunty came and went.

Bartlett - How does a road degrade?
Brutus - good recap of the life of a road. (will do more justice with the recording of this later).

Bartlett - What did Maple St cost us?
Brutus - About $350,000 for the top, it was another about 500,000 for the water lines.

Pfeffer - how much was the overlay on Summer St?
Brutus - about $47,000 for that portion.

Zollo - How many requests of this type have come in during the past year?
Brutus - About a couple of dozen.

Vallee - I didn't think we paid that?
Brutus - no it was a betterment fee. The Councilor asked how much it cost and it did cost that amount. We did not pay it.

Live reporting - Town Council - 9/3/08

Councilors Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, and Zollo present

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – July 9, July 23, August 6,

minutes approved -


1 - Harvest Festival - rain date Sep 28th

2 - Rep Vallee has sent Mr Campbell to represent his office tonight and will have someone at each future Council meeting


recognition to Joe McGann and Ron Higgenbottom for installation of grab bars for elderly residents in Franklin

Franklin Proclamation

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Bottle & Can Drive - FHS - 9/6/08

Bottle & Can Drive - FHS 9/6/08

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Take your bottles and cans to the High School parking lot and help out the Hockey Team!

TOWN COUNCIL - Agenda - 9/3/08

September 3, 2008

7:00 PM

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – July 9, July 23, August 6,








  • Street Opening Bylaw – Gas Conversions
  • Department of Planning & Community Development – Bryan Taberner – Downtown Parking, DPCD Update



  • Resolution 08-56: Establishing an Economic Opportunity Area
  • Resolution 08-57: Authorizing Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5:Zoning Map: Business to Commercial II- 1st Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Link to the agenda on the Town page here

Link to the package on the Town page here

In the News - Plain St fire, schools re-open

Franklin woman escapes blaze

By Danielle Ameden/Daily News staff

A napping woman escaped her second-story Plain Street apartment without injury yesterday afternoon, awoken by fire alarms and fleeing as her house filled with smoke and flames, officials said.

As Cheryl Colby ran out of the185 Plain St. home, neighbors say they called 911 and ran to the rescue, setting up a ladder, believing Colby's son was still upstairs. As it turned out, they said, he was not home.

Fire Chief Gary McCarraher said the two-alarm blaze, called in at 4:20 p.m., is under investigation. It resulted in substantial fire, smoke and water damage to the home, he said.


Fire caused by match or cigarette

By Danielle Ameden/Daily News staff

Fire Chief Gary McCarraher Tuesday, Aug. 2, announced the two-alarm blaze that roared through the home at 185 Plain St. Monday was accidental, caused by careless disposal of smoking materials.

James Colby, who lives on the second floor, was smoking a cigarette around 1 or 1:30 p.m. on the wooden back deck before he left the house. Either a match or the cigarette butt later ended up igniting the deck, with fire ripping up the two-family home's vinyl siding to the attic, the chief said.


Franklin schools to reopen after pipe explosion

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

School will resume tomorrow at Oak Street Elementary School, Horace Mann Middle School, and the Early Childhood Development Center after Superintendent Wayne Ogden closed the schools today for emergency repairs.

Early Labor Day morning, a piece of plumbing that controls hot water and steam failed and exploded at the school complex at 224 Oak St., Ogden explained.

"The pressure was so intense, it blew a hole through the sheetwall in the utility closet ... and shorted an electrical panel for the whole complex," which set off the fire alarm, he said.

The Fire Department and facilities workers cleaned up the water and started to repair the electrical panel on Monday, he said, but were unable to buy plumbing parts on Labor Day weekend.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Primary Election - 9/16/08

Election Day - 9/16/08

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For additional information on the Primary Election coming up two week from today -> Tuesday, 9/16/08 visit the Secretary of State web page here

FM #11 - School Committee 8/26/08

Another in a series of podcasts on what matters in Franklin, MA. This one focusing on the School Committee meeting of 8/26/08 and then the news of Supt Wayne Ogden's resignation.

Time: 40 minutes, 6 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes

Music intro

My intro

FM #11

From the School Committee meeting on Tuesday 8/26/08, there were a few items of real interest. There are a number of items on the agenda and respectfully while all of them are important these are the most important. The most significant item of all for the week occurred after the public portion of the meeting but we’ll get to that in due course.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing. Benjamin Franklin

Miriam Goodman and Maureen Sabolinski provided an update on the pay-to-ride program. Miriam also had an analysis (copy of the one pager provided) of pay-to-ride for the past four years and an outlook for this school year 2008-2009.

Franklin: Pay-to-Ride FY05 - FY09

Late bus
Based upon the decline in enrollment Supt Wayne Ogden recommended keeping with the failed override plan of cutting the late bus. It was not included in the budget unless the override had passed so no additional action was required of the School Committee on the recommendation. There was additional discussion primarily from Ed Cafasso to find the “short money” and keep the bus running. There was not additional support for this idea across the committee. The override failed hence no late bus.

FHS Scheduling problem
The High School encountered a scheduling problem. After cutting the teachers and the classes associated with the override failure, the schedule came up with a hole were approx. 200 students had an empty period. As state last forbids study halls, they played with a couple of options. One additional teacher (in English) resigned in early August and backfilling that position with another English teacher did not provide coverage for the schedule. Backfilling the English teacher with a music teacher did cover the hole so they did hire a music teacher.

The major news of the week occurred after the public portion of the School Committee meeting ended. As you have no doubt heard by now, Supt Wayne Ogden submitted his resignation effective June 30, 2009. To those who call him a quitter, he is hardly that. A quitter would have provided two weeks or less notice and gone out the door. Wayne took the far more courageous option of providing significant notice to the School Committee in order for them to start to look for a replacement, while he continued in his role running the school department.

Yes, it is a disappointment but Franklin voters have no one to blame but themselves. The majority of those who came out to vote on the override defeated the increase to provide a level service budget to the schools. The real issue lies with the many, many voters who did not come out to vote at all. As I have mentioned previously, the quick numbers on the override showed that 500 voters changed their vote from 2007 to 2008 and voted NO. An additional 1000 voters who came out in 2007 to vote Yes, simply did not show up.

We do have tough time ahead of us. We need to work together. We need to make our presence felt at each and every school committee meeting and town council meeting.

Don’t just sit there.
Please get up and do something.

If you need inspiration, view the Do You Believe video posted from YouTube on Franklin Matters on 8/30/08.

The Ben Franklin quote comes from the following website:


This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ed Cafasso Letter - Part 2

Hello everyone!

I am passing along a brief update on school issues in Franklin, but first I need to make two corrections to the e-mail I distributed Sunday evening…

  • 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 two-year college. (My e-mail said “four-year” in the second reference.)
  • The average per pupil expenditure among school districts in Massachusetts stood at $11,859, which was $2,273 more than Franklin’s. (My e-mail said “less.”)

Thank you to the readers who pointed out my errors… I apologize. You can view the complete, corrected version of the academic-financial performance report online at:

With the school year underway, three issues are top of mind:

1. The Superintendent’s Resignation: Many parents have expressed deep disappointment in Supt. Ogden’s decision to resign, and I share that sentiment. You can expect next steps to be a topic of discussion at the School Committee meeting scheduled for the evening of Sept. 9. The mission of education goes on in Franklin and I think it’s fair to say that all the members of School Committee are committed to ensuring that the schools do the best they can this year with the resources that are available.

2. Class Sizes: The Franklin Public Schools began the 2008-09 academic year with an estimated 6,175 students, an increase of 101 students from the end of school in June and 136 more than were enrolled at the start of school in 2006. With 40 fewer teachers, there are fewer classes at all levels and too many of the classes that remain are far larger than they should be. We are already receiving reports of over-crowded classrooms at middle schools and the high school; in some cases, class sizes at Franklin High are at 40 students or more and there are not enough seats or textbooks for some students. Now that school has begun and new enrollments are being finalized, the Committee expects to receive up-to-date data on class sizes soon; I will pass it along when it becomes available.

3. Franklin High School: The reduction in instructional personnel will need to be reported to officials with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), which looks closely at class size in making decisions about our accreditation status. It is possible that the increased class sizes, the need for facility improvements, and the need to invest in our science and technology offerings will result in the high school being put on probation by the end of the year. Moving as quickly as possible to address the issues at Franklin High must be a top priority for the School Committee and for the town as a whole this fall.

Facilities maintenance responsibilities for school buildings and grounds were transferred to the Town control this summer after an agreement was reached to ensure that school principals retain command and control over issues inside their buildings, which is a required provision under the state’s Education Reform law. Custodial staff did another fine job preparing the buildings for the first day of school last week.

Also, I know many of you have expressed concern about the fate of the late bus, which was one of the items at risk in the override voters faced this past June. With the override’s failure, the late bus was not included in the school budget for 2008-09. For a time earlier this summer, it appeared that strong demand for the pay-to-ride program would produce enough funds to continue the late bus, but now additional unexpected new costs have arisen elsewhere within the school district. At the Aug. 26 School Committee meeting, efforts to continue the late bus were again discussed and shelved.

The rollercoaster late bus debate is a symbol of the increasingly difficult choices we face as a district. When there was a threat the late bus would be eliminated, working families protested because the service allows them to work and their children to access important after-school programs. When there was a chance there might be funds to continue the late bus, some community leaders complained that the School Committee would lose credibility if we didn’t follow through on the promised consequences of the failed override. Still others argue that if we can somehow find $40,000, we should use the funds to try to re-hire a teacher or for some other important purpose, instead of using it to revive the late bus.

At a time of scarce financial resources and a variety of urgent, under-funded needs, you can expect more of these unattractive choices to dominate School Committee discussions and decisions.

These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. I hope to distribute at least one e-mail update each month during the school year, as issues warrant. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these updates, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.


Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

Note: The corrections noted by Ed in the opening here have been incorporated into the posting of Part 1.

188 King St - progress

188 King St - progress, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The progress is significant.

Prior pictures can be found here and here.

School Committee Meeting - 8/26/08

No School for Horace Mann, Oak St, or ECDC on 9/2/08

Just received an automated message via the new town system alerting us to a "mechanical failure" at the Horace Mann, Oak Street and ECDC complex which will cause there to be no school on Tuesday, September 2.

No teachers or students should report on Tuesday, September 2.

NO SCHOOL - Tuesday, September 2
  • Horace Mann Middle School
  • Oak Street Elementary School
  • Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC)

    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

    "You forget everything around you"

    Posted Aug 31, 2008 @ 11:29 PM


    Turning 37 years old isn't a milestone for most people, but for Babe, a beautiful white Appaloosan horse, it's close to a miracle and reason for her loved ones to celebrate.

    In human years, Babe would be about 148 years old, estimated Cathie LaBastie, who owns and runs the property at 469 Maple St. with her husband, Steve LaBastie.

    Cathie LaBastie said for a horse to be considered old 15 years ago "was to live to the early 20s. Now, old is 32 maybe."

    Horses live longer today thanks to improvements in medical care and feed, she said.

    Babe's long life is credited to Holliston resident Julie Mahoney, who has cared for the horse over the past 16 years.

    And Babe has played an equally vital role in her owner's life, said Mahoney, who wants to pay tribute to her "faithful companion" before her 37th birthday next March.

    Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    "I would say the response has been very positive"

    MetroWest Daily News
    Posted Aug 30, 2008 @ 11:06 PM

    From the outside, they looked like any other assortment of little old ladies.

    Moments after I walked into the Sunshine Club at Franklin's Senior Center, Lena Vitti filled me in on the rules: "You have to smile to come in the door."

    Little did I know I was stepping into the lion's den.

    I'd gone to Franklin to take on Vitti and a handful of other seniors in a game of what's become the hottest must-have item at area senior centers - Wii bowling.

    Sure, I was a Wii newbie - the closest I'd come to using the video game system was a display at Best Buy, but being in my early 30s, and part of the generation that grew up with video games, I went in feeling pretty confident.

    Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

    In the Globe - Ogden resigns

    By Rachel Lebeaux Globe Correspondent / August 31, 2008

    Franklin's superintendent of schools submitted his resignation Tuesday night, citing layoffs in the wake of voters turning down a tax increase as the deciding factor.

    "I came to Franklin in May 2006 to help move the public schools from good to great. Instead, we are beginning another academic year moving in the opposite direction," Superintendent Wayne Ogden wrote in his resignation letter to the School Committee. "We will start the 2008-2009 school year with 180 more students than when I arrived, and a budget that is several million dollars short of keeping pace with this growth."

    Read the full article in the Globe West section of Sunday's Boston Globe here