Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Live reporting - Budget FY 2011

Jeff Nutting provided updates on the school building process
anticipating 50% reimbursement
debt exclusion override possible in Fall of 2011
construction could begin in 2013

$200,000 increase a far cry from the 2-3 M normally seen year to year

House Ways & Means cut another 525,000 from Chap 70
to be replaced this year with a one-time grant
not likely to be seen in 2012, so that budget year could be worse than this year

The budget is balanced, eliminates 9 Town positions
Employees are so far are increasing health insurance co-pays which will be a savings of $500,000

Town budget includes no cost of living raises other than what was already deferred from last year.

Copies of the budget are available on the website

and at the library

questions should be sent to Jeff Nutting

Q - Mason what would the deficit be?
A - Nutting the gap is about 3.5 but 3 M in practical terms

Q - Mason I have some questions for Mr Roy
A - Roy, can I bring some assistance?

Jeff Roy - 7 elementary teachers, 8 middle school, increase athletic fees, doubling extra curricular activity fees
and an early release of elementary schools one day to reduce another 4 positions.

We have cut 110 positions since 2006, it is compelling. On top of these particular cuts, we are using some one time revenue so next year will be another problem

Musical programs have been reduced, physical education is reduced
We saved FHS teachers last year with a creative change in the schedule to go from 7 periods to 6 periods. Eliminated 80 elective courses and 4 physical ed teachers; phys ed requirements were met via athletic participation or other outside requirements.

We have been a high performing district due to the total program we offered which is now changed

Q - McGann - did you say you offer a program that is not mandated?
A - Roy - no, we offer programs that are required.
A - Sabolinski - I think that may have been in the discussion about full-day versus half-day, full day is not mandated. This has been discussed in regards to other communities where they have fee income but the program is different from what we do.

Note - the analysis of the full versus half-day was written up earlier

Q - Whalen - going with increases of fees reduces the participation, so only those with the wherewithal are getting the best of the education
Q - Roy - there is no question that on the School Committee we do not like imposing fees, but given the choice of cutting programs or imposing fees is tough. Last night, the option to eliminate the athletic program would save us $300,000. But if we do so, we would actually need to add back the 4 PE teachers at around $200,000 so our net savings would only be $100,000. Many students would say that is what keep them in school. There was no sentiment to eliminate athletics. In order to save positions, we need to increase fees. We try to accommodate where ever we can.

Q - Mason - What is the fee structure?
A - Roy - right now, the athletic fee is $125 per sport per student; the proposed tier fee structure would be $175 for track, $200 for all others, except for hockey which would be $400.

Q - Mason - what would the cuts due to class size?
A - Sabolinski - Class sizes would increase, (numbers to be added)

Q - Mason - what is the impact to the teachers and students
A - Sabolisnki - additional work, students at the edge will be the first to suffer as it gets increasingly hard to reach all of them with one-to-one attention in a larger class size.
A - Roy - We have students who are getting in to the top colleges because we prepare them well! Universally, we hear that they are well prepared for that experience. We would like to see this experience for every student from kindergarten on up!

Q - Zollo - how many teachers have decreased in the recent past?
A - Roy - over 8 years, 100 teachers cut, with 1000 more students in the same period

Q - how many town positions
Q - Nutting - from 303 to 253

Chart from School Budget presentation earlier this year provides some numbers
(link to be added)

Q - Mason - what percent of the total budget is salary?
A - Roy - 80%

Q - Mason - what is the percent on the Town side?
A - Nutting - not a fair comparison as we carry the debt, we have the DPW with salt and winter costs, we have positions that haven't been filled so 6 of the 9 are ones that we are not filling and cutting in this budget

3 dispatchers
1.5 clerical
.5 librarian
1 firefighter

Chief Williams
Police - My budget is 93% personnel costs
I have a double dispatch running, thousands of calls and radios transmissions are coming in
We are it for the town after 4:00, anything after hours we get. The dispatcher is able to do this.
Cut back to one dispatcher could in busy times have you talking to a machine

From 20,000 to 41,000 different incidents over the period

Q - Zollo - What is the state of Franklin?
A - Williams - We have a great town, I have seen an increase in violence, there are more people carrying weapons
I think we are playing with fire (and I don't want to steal his thunder)
there is a fear that something could happen and we are not prepared to handle it
Sending one man cars to a call doesn't cut it.
I am nervous where we are, we are down 5 officers from where we were in 2000
We have to work together as a town

Q - Zollo - is there an increase in juvenile activity?
A - In Norfolk county, we have the highest

Q - McGann - how many patrolman?
A - Williams - 28 officers, 24x7, at times there are 3 patrolmen on the 11-7 shift and that is what we had when I started

Q - Jones - last night there was discussion about cutting in the buses?
A - Roy - yes, that was one cut that I neglected to mention earlier. We have a pay to ride program, inevitably we have folks who have not signed up in the proper time frame, for those we would not be able to provide them a spot

A - we can't change a fee for anyone within a 2 mile radius for K-6

Q - Jones - none of these sound good, it affects all the parents, it affects the family life style; the bus reflects the only reasonable cut I have heard

Nutting - the Police budget was cut 250,000; Fire cut 250,000, DPW cut 300,000. These cuts occurred in my office as opposed to the public forum that the School Committee gets

Chief McCarragher - currently have open positions, no clerical support, last year funded 6.5% less than the previous year. We are looking to find people. 44% of our call volume happens back-to-back. If I have to tell you that we are in a queue, that is not good. we are trying to partner with our surrounding communities but they are having the same discussions with their selectmen etc. If we cut our second ambulance, we also cut revenue as we do get income from those service calls. Everyone says we don't have fires in Franklin but we get 20-40 of those every year.  The northern part of Franklin is growing, we are not serving them in a timely manner.

Vallee - calls are going down, I seen it on the net
McCarragher - not in Franklin, look at what they were, the inner cities. we are catching up with our growth spurt, fast forward 20 years, we didn't seen many years ago because we have new buildings, we are now seeing problems where the new equipment is going into the older houses.

We are in the opportunity business. We give every one the right opportunity

Zollo - We are talking about life and death
Roy - that's bone
Zollo - we are talking about our seniors, we are talking about our children, it can not be the same as it was 20-30 years ago. Our Town employees go above and beyond with less. I can't fathom how a reasonable person would disagree. You can get something from nothing.

Jones - I would hate to exclude Brutus, our roads are just as important

Cantoreggi - We are pretty good with dealing with the emergencies, the day to day issues are seriously short staffed, things are going to take longer and longer to get done.

five minute recess

 Franklin, MA

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