Saturday, April 17, 2010

Relay for Life - Franklin, MA 6/11-12, 2010

The Relay for Life in Franklin, MA will be held on Friday/Saturday June 11th and 12th.

More can be found on the Relay for Life page here

Franklin, MA: Earth Day April 17th

Lots of activities planned, help make Franklin a great place!

Symphony Hall, here they come!

The 56-piece orchestra (some won't play because of April vacation) won a gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association concert band festival last weekend - also winning the opportunity to play in Boston's famous music hall.
"I was really surprised by it - not that we're bad or anything, but it's our senior year, and it was a big shock to win the gold and get to go to Symphony Hall," she said.
All seven musical groups competing in the MICA competition last weekend won medals for Franklin. The High School Orchestra won the gold medal. Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

P2 of 5: "Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work"

2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition was just released this week. It lists five trends and develops a story around them. You can view the full report here

The second trend:
Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed. Information technologies impact how people work, play, learn, socialize, and collaborate. Increasingly, technology skills are also critical to success in almost every arena, and those who are more facile with technology will advance while those without access or skills will not. The digital divide, once seen as a factor of wealth, is now seen as a factor of education: those who have the opportunity to learn technology skills are in a better position to obtain and make use of technology than those who do not. Evolving occupations, multiple careers, and an increasingly mobile workforce contribute to this trend.

As the Franklin community gets into the discussion

1) around the Town budget and the School budget (which is about 50% of the Town budget)

2) on what priorities should be set (classroom instruction vs after school activities, etc.)

let's also consider how our current level service school budget meets the needs of the students. Yes, we are a high performing district. What do we need to do to remain one? (Besides obtaining appropriate funding!)

Franklin, MA

Mansfield 'saves' sports for next year

... the Board of Selectmen voted last night to transfer about $890,000 from town coffers to the school budget for fiscal 2011, which begins on July 1.
In return, the committee will remove a property tax override vote from next month’s Town Meeting agenda. And, Miller said, the committee will reject motions from the public to transfer more funds from the town budget to schools.
The district made headlines this week when the School Committee voted to cut high school sports and clubs to help plug a $3.6 million deficit, prompting an outcry from parents and students in a district where 800 of the 1,500 high school students play at least one sport.
Read the full article in the Boston Globe here

Friday's article in the Boston Globe can be found here

Franklin, MA

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bill Glynn responds

In response to a post from Martinator, I have put my thoughts in context with his original posting below. Please keep in mind that these are my thoughts alone. I do not speak on behalf of the School Committee.

NOTE: I mention specifics when talking about cuts below. Please keep in mind that the School Committee is in the very early stages of creating a list of considerations. We are only in the brainstorming stage and the fact that something was mentioned only means that it was an idea – it does not mean that it has made a short-list or anything. We are casting a wide net and trying to put all ideas on the table before evaluating those ideas.

Short Term

Everyone in town pays a flat fee for Garbage Pick-up.

Would it be possible (legal) for the town to charge an Education Fee to disengage the funding for education from property taxes?

I’m not sure if charging an education fee is legal, but it is problematic. Our country has a long history of providing free public education. If we start charging for certain aspects of that education, we start to head down a slippery slope of wanting to charge more money for those things and establishing fees for more and more things. The concept of paying for full-day Kindergarten (sort of an example of a user fee) was put on the table at our meeting Tuesday night and it will be discussed further as we try and settle on the things we will cut if we have to.

The Academic User fee idea is similar in nature to “impact fees” and the town lost that lawsuit many years ago so I’m not so sure how well this type of fee would stand up in court. I think it has the potential to create legal issues for us, but it’s worth discussing. That would have to be a Town Council issue, but the School Committee can discuss it first and see if it’s something we want to ask the Council to consider.
Since Everybody in the town benefits from better schools everybody should pay (property values, lower crime rate, and the fact that in 5-10 years the high school students will be our health care providers...).

Maybe this "flat fee" could be a structured flat fee if people balk at it.

Maybe the "flat fee" could help cover the "predictable" portion of the school budget, or maybe just the "unpredictable" portion (Special Ed).

I agree that better schools benefit all but not necessarily in equal proportion. We need to find a way of sharing the burden without bankrupting our seniors (in particular) or forcing them out of town because they can no longer afford the taxes on their house.

Long Term

I always tell people that the problem with education in this country it that there is a economic disconnect for the demand for educational services, and the money needed to fund those services. Especially with the Prop 2.5 law, which places and artificial cap on the towns ability to raise revenue. It's a "price control" and throughout history, price controls have been proven to have the opposite effect that is intended. But Prop 2.5 isn't going away anytime soon...
I agree there is a major disconnect in the system and proposition 2.5 is one of the problems that prevents us from balancing the school budget. However, there are other factors that are creating the problems to begin with. If prop 2.5 didn’t exist, the tendency would be to continue to raise taxes to pay the bills without addressing the root cause of the problem and that’s not a sustainable model.

The town needs to find new ways of raising revenue. Franklin is right on 495, has 2 commuter rail stops for Boston, and is central to Boston, Providence, and Worcester. How can Franklin take advantage of these geographic realities and attract businesses and corporate tax revenue (Does Franklin have a separate corporate tax rate?)

Maybe it's not possible to find new revenue streams.

What about costs? This is hard when the school budget is already, I'm guessing, 80-90% of the town budget. The school budget also seems to be cutting more and more into "meat" and less and less "fat".

Yes we are and we have been cutting “meat” for a while now and it is going to catch up with us. More disturbingly, it’s going to catch up with the kids. Raising revenues is one possibility. However, the risk of a split tax rate is that we lose the corporate tax base altogether if they can easily move to some other town and get a better deal and this has happened. The other aspect to consider is that while it is possible and you may be able to retain the companies, is it fair to the small businesses?

What about consolidating all the regional schools into a larger school district? Why does it have to be "Town-by-town"?

Franklin and Medway are already sharing resources among the rec departments. I think that goes for the libraries also. Would the scale of a larger school district reduce some administrative costs and make the unpredictable costs more predictable?

It doesn’t have to be town by town and there are regional districts in Massachusetts, but they tend to be west of Worcester. Many other states employ regional schools at a much higher rate than Massachusetts. That could save costs, but it does introduce other problems. If you needed to pass an override, do all towns have to agree? What if one of those towns will never agree? Then you’re playing down to the lowest common denominator and then who wants to partner with that town. The flip side is a problem too. What if the override is based upon a majority of voters from all towns and you have towns that always push for and pass an override? Then you’re living up to (perhaps) the most lavish goals of others. Again, you want out. Consider that we don’t have a common viewpoint on overrides and budget, etc. just within Franklin and then imagine introducing 2 or 3 other towns into the mix. I think it’s an idea worth discussing though and we already do some regionalization, such as Tri-County and some of the special education is “regionalized” and shared with other towns.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Bill Glynn
Franklin School Committee 

Apparently, the comment exceeds the allowed length, hence I am posting this as a full post in response to Martinator's comment.


While on the education bandwagon, the conversation on the Facebook page revealed a group I wasn't aware of: PHENOM.
PHENOM is the leading organization advocating for affordable, well-funded public higher education in Massachusetts.  PHENOM unites students, faculty, alumni, staff, parents and community organizations to do grassroots organizing, policy analysis, and advocacy.
They ask for folks to sign a pledge:
Massachusetts must provide top-quality public higher education and must make it affordable for all. To these ends, the Commonwealth must ensure that per capita spending on public higher education is no less than the national average, and that student costs are no higher than the national average. Significant and measurable progress toward these benchmarks must be achieved by FY 2012.
These are admirable and worthy goals. Higher education (i.e. college and post graduate) can not succeed unless there is a great foundation built by the primary levels of education (elementary, middle school and high school). And with the way the economy and world has developed, education does not stop when you get your degree. It is equally important to maintain a life long learning approach.

So you can read more about PHENOM on their website here:

I'll bring some other of their writings, events, etc here as makes sense over time.

In the meantime, I'll stay focused on the local level where our individual tax dollars make the most sense, in that we have the most direct control over the results. As the saying goes, "All politics is local". I'll expand upon that and say "all education starts local." It starts at home and is fostered by the local community with a quality primary education.

If we want Franklin to continue to be a worthy place to live, then we need to be mindful of the core values that the School District developed:

Student Achievement
All students are entitled to academic excellence, appropriate facilities and quality materials and instruction.

Social / Civic Expectations
Students will become engaged, responsible citizens who respect the dignity and diversity of all individuals and cultures.

School Climate
Through our words and our actions, we create a culture of civility, thoughtfulness, appreciation and approachability.

School / Community Relationships
An active commitment among family, community and schools is vital to student learning.

Community Resources for Learning
We partner with all members of the community to exchange ideas, solve problems and build a comprehensive educational experience.

The School Committee agenda and individual meetings open with a reading of the Mission and Vision statements from the Strategic Plan. The core values are just as important to repeat.

Note: I was a member of the community wide group that updated the Strategic Plan.

P1 of 5: "Technology is increasingly a means for empowering students"

2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition was just released this week. It lists five trends and develops a story around them. You can view the full report here

The first trend:
Technology is increasingly a means for empowering students, a method for communication and socializing, and a ubiquitous, transparent part of their lives. Technology is impacting all of our lives, and especially the lives of students, in new and expanding ways. Once seen as an isolating influence, technology is now recognized as a primary way to stay in touch and take control of one’s own learning. Multisensory, ubiquitous, and interdisciplinary, technology is integrated into nearly everything we do. It gives students a public voice and a means to reach beyond the classroom for interaction and exploration.  
As the Franklin community gets into the discussion

1) around the Town budget and the School budget (which is about 50% of the Town budget)

2) on what priorities should be set (classroom instruction vs after school activities, etc.)

let's also consider how our current level service school budget meets the needs of the students. Yes, we are a high performing district. What do we need to do to remain one? (Besides obtaining appropriate funding!)

Franklin, MA

Attention: Franklin Downtown Partnership

An email from Lisa Piana, Executive Director Franklin Downtown Partnership has the following:

Spring Clean-up Day this Saturday!

This year Downtown Franklin will be added to the list of town sites that volunteers will be cleaning up on Clean-up Day Saturday, April 17th.  If you would like to volunteer please meet at Beaver Pond at 9:00 am and Ryan Jette will provide the appropriate materials including trash bags.

Let them know you are with the Franklin Downtown Partnership.  Adults are needed to help supervise teens.  Community Service Hours forms will be available.

Attention Downtown Businesses and Building Owners:
If you are unable to volunteer, but have a business downtown, please take a few minutes to help clean-up the sidewalk in front of your building. 

Reminder- all flower barrel greens should be removed at this time.

For more details on the Clean-up Day please contact the Franklin Recreation Department or DPW.

    Ryan Jette, Director of Recreation CPRP
    Franklin Recreation Department
    (508) 520-4909  

Franklin, MA

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bill Glynn responds to comments on the override discussion

Bill Glynn, Franklin School Committee, commented on the latest article in the Milford Daily News and asked me to reprint his comment here.

You can read the full article here:

Bill's comment:
Not a good place to be, once again. We don’t have the final numbers from the state yet, but we’re looking at close to a $2M deficit in the school budget. Last night we started the brainstorming process of what we might have to cut out of the budget and we’ll be doing more of that at our next meeting. No matter what we cut, we’re taking away from the kids and that’s depressing. I try to read all of the comments written in response to these types of articles and I “get it” and I believe that my fellow Committee members get it too.

 Personally, I don’t want to pay more taxes either. However, I know that every dollar I spend in my local taxes directly benefits me and my neighbors and every dollar we cut out of the town budget impacts me and my neighbors as well. Federal and state taxes more or less fall into a black hole, but my town taxes are much more visible to me and they directly impact my quality of life. So, what do we do?

I’ve seen a few suggestions in the above comments and I’ll share some information that I’ve learned over the past 6 months since I joined the School Committee.

Close a school and consolidate:
We just received a report from one of our subcommittees last night on that very topic. In a nutshell, we have some schools that have a bit of room, but we have other schools that are completely full. So, the topic of redistricting was raised. In addition, we have reason to expect student population to grow. We’re looking to get more definitive projections on population growth and building permits, etc., but the recommendation is not to close a school. Even if we had sufficient space to close one today and perhaps sell it off, we would need to build a new school within a couple of years and that would be far more expensive. So, it was researched and the information shows we can’t consolidate.

Why is Franklin always looking for an override?
Well, we haven’t been approving them. Let’s take a current example. $1.3M of the approximately $2M budget gap is comprised of increased costs for a single line item called “special education”. This line item includes all of the things associated with providing education for students who have special needs. This budget item includes such things as specialists in the classroom as well as special programs outside of Franklin that we can’t provide in Franklin. These kids deserve an education just like every other kid in town. However, there are some important points to make on this topic. Special education is very expensive. While we have good insight into the mainstream classrooms and we have reasonable control over the associated costs, special education costs are highly dynamic and they are beyond the control of the School Committee and the town. If we have 5 new students enter the mainstream program they can be placed into existing classrooms and wouldn’t have a measurable impact to the budget in terms of costs. However, if we have 5 new special education students enter the school system, the budget impact could be negligible or it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and this has happened. We have no way to plan or budget for such events and we have virtually no control over the costs. Special education is highly regulated by the state and is governed by very specific state laws. The problem is the way special education is funded. It is the responsibility of each town to provide these services. Special education costs need to be paid directly by the state out of a state budget rather than the current system where the state gives each town a lump sum for all education and then bills each town for special education. I’m not saying that the state is necessarily a poster child for program management, but towns are not able to absorb cost fluctuations for programs beyond their control run be quasi-private companies that raise their prices with (arguably) minimal state oversight and control. By the way, the $1.3M increase in special education costs is a 2.5% increase to the school budget and that is a single line item. So, if you eat up the entire allowable tax increase on a single budget line item, it’s not hard to see why override discussions are taking place. The situation is made worse by a decrease in state funding.

Creative ideas? The School Committee and the administration made some very creative changes last year that resulted in some cost savings. There’s more to that story, but I’ll save that for another time. Last night I threw out the idea of a 100% pay to ride (the buses) model, where everybody pays if they ride the bus regardless of how close or far away they live to/from the school. State law says that if you live 2 or more miles away from school, the town must provide free transportation to school. So, my idea is in direct violation of state law. Is it creative? Maybe. Is it foolish? It could be that too. My viewpoint is it won’t matter who pays for the bus if there’s very little value in the classroom once the kids get there and that’s where we’re headed. I’d rather cut (or charge for) buses than cut teachers and directly reduce the quality of education. This is cumulative too. If we mess up a kid’s 3rd grade education, that will impact their ability to perform at a 4th grade level next year and so on.

Some of the other thoughts and ideas that folks have written about in their comments would also violate state or federal laws. So, should we put some extra money into the legal budget and try to fight some of these battles? Many of the problems we need to tackle are systemic and they aren’t under our control, which means that we will have to fight to change them – big fights. Some of them are worth fighting, but we would need your help and support. Are you willing to give us a bit of your time and attention? Are you willing to work with us? What’s your risk tolerance?

I would like to share a lot more information with a larger audience and do it in person. I want to involve others that have more knowledge than me too and I want to listen to your thoughts and ideas as well. So, if I arrange an informal coffee social, are you willing to come and talk? I’ll be watching this comment trail for your answers and I can be reached at

Franklin, MA

Saturday Plan of Events for Garden Prep and Build

Hi All:
Thank you for your work and support on this event!
Because the ECDC may not have families available we will meet at the Franklin Senior Center at 9 AM.
Please note this is a CHANGE. The pre-built raised bed should be brought here.
All those involved in the building (as lead point people) should arrive at 9 AM to review the build structure, ask questions, gain necessary information to lead your volunteers and team in their build at the alternate sites.
All other sites should instruct their volunteers to meet at their designated sites at 10 AM.
We are lucky to have great sponsors who are dropping off our supplies and soil/fill at EACH site!
The build, fill and possible planting will take ~ 1 hour/1.5 or so.
Please consider joining us after at the Franklin Rail Trail site on Grove Street for a trail clean up (in support of Franklin's Earth Day Clean up)!
Thanks again for all your support and hard work. See you all Saturday (for now Rain or Shine) unless you hear otherwise!
Please pass this along to anyone who may not have made the list. 

This is an update to the Franklin raises a garden post

Franklin, MA: Summer St

Let's see how much we can glean from this picture:

The utility poles are in the street.
The sidewalk is breaking up.
The sidewalk doesn't go all the way.
The sidewalk doesn't have a curb.
The road has potholes.

Oh, and Franklin doesn't have a capital budget to have a regular repair program for its almost 200 miles of roads. We are dependent upon the graciousness of State Aid and grants.

Your road may be in worse shape than this.
You can continue to wait and be patient for someday getting to the top of the priority listing of roads to be repaired.
Or you can start advocating for a capital budget for roads and be willing to vote some money towards it.

Franklin voters have a choice. We can do more than complain about the road conditions. We can ask the Town Council to create a capital budget for road repairs.

Your choice.

Photo taken on Summer St heading towards King St from East Central here in Franklin, MA.

14th Annual FEF Trivia Bee - April 29 - 7:00 PM

14th Annual FEF Trivia Bee…Still Time to Enter Your Team!

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) will hold its 14th Annual Trivia Bee at the Horace Mann Middle School starting at 7:00 p.m. This year’s theme is history. 

We are thrilled to say that we have a impressive number of teams already signed up as well as some awesome auction items ... including Red Sox tickets!


FEF is still accepting Team Sponsors and item donations for a special raffle. Companies, organizations, parents and individuals can enter a 3-person team of their own or sponsor a team of Franklin students. Team sponsorships are $300 each. The event is well known as a fun evening out with friends and neighbors, all while contributing to a worthwhile cause. It’s a great way to show your commitment to education in Franklin.

To sponsor a team or donate a raffle item please contact Maureen Roy at 508-528-5170 or For more information visit

Admission for spectators is free. Be sure to attend on April 29, and test your knowledge of history!

Franklin, MA

In the News: Solar panels, students walk

Franklin company receives $161K solar panel rebate

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Students walk the walk for health

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin, MA

Volunteers needed to judge Franklin students' work

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by Staff reports on 4/14/10

Franklin High School's Senior Project is looking for some community volunteers to judge the student presentations on May 26 and 27.

Over the next two months, students are working at internships outside of the school, and must complete 70 hours of interning by May 25. After the interning portion of the project is complete, the students will put together a presentation and portfolio of their work.

The presentations will take place Wednesday, May 26, and Thursday, May 27, in the Franklin High School Library between 7:35 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. Judges will include school administrators, faculty and community members. Each presentation ranges from 15-20 minutes, and there will be at least two presentations per hour. 

Judges can choose to stay for one hour or the entire day. Following each presentation is a question and answer portion. Coffee and donuts will be provided for judges. The judging rubric and more information can be found in the Senior Project Handbook on the high school's Web site.

If interested, email Sascha Werner D'Angelo at with the dates and times you are available, or call 508-528-5600 ext. 3053.


Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Full day Kindergarten - free or tuition based?

"Tell me what you think of Paid Kindergarten @$2600.00 per child."

This question came in from a loyal reader of Franklin Matters. Hmm, I thought paid kindergarten was offered by private schools. I did not realize that public schools could charge tuition so I went looking.

The map is contained in the Appendix of the Kindergarten report from the DESE referenced below. Focusing in a little closer on the map reveals Franklin and the surrounding communities.

Franklin's neighboring communities

DistrictFull-dayAvailabilityFree or TuitionQuality GrantTuition

FY10 Kindergarten programs available by municipality and at charter schools

As usual, the devil is in the details. The MA state regulations are very clear on the following:

(1) All school districts shall provide kindergarten education for all eligible children.
(2) Class size for kindergartens shall not exceed an average of 25.
(3) Kindergarten classes shall be taught by qualified and certified teachers.
Regulatory Authority: 603 CMR 8.00: M.G.L. c.69, §1B

MA state regulations go on to say:
All school districts are required to provide a free, part-time kindergarten education for eligible children. Although the department strongly encourages all districts to offer full-day kindergarten free of charge, districts may charge tuition for hours beyond the 425 instructional hours required for part-time kindergarten.
Districts receiving state funds under the Quality Full-Day Kindergarten grant program that charge tuition must abide by the following requirements and submit a signed Statement of Assurance to the Office of Elementary School Services. All School Committees and the staff involved in kindergarten registration and determining income eligibility should also be informed of these policies.

The bold I added for emphasis and therein lies the difference between "tuition-based" kindergarten and "free" kindergarten. MA is continuing to move to requiring full-day kindergarten across the state. The most recent update on this progress to full-day kindergarten mentioned the following:

Between FY00 and FY10 the percentage of kindergarten students attending full-day programs grew from 29 percent to 77 percent of students who attend public school kindergarten. A variety of factors has contributed to the growth of full-day programs, including a commitment by districts to expand their early education programs and the support provided by the state. 

There are now 279 districts in the Commonwealth that have some or all full-day kindergarten. Universal, voluntary full-day kindergarten is a key component of an early care and education system for children birth to third grade. Kindergarten is the threshold year in children’s lives and education, merging home, non-public and public early education and care and preschool programs into the public education system. Funding for the Kindergarten Development Grant Program in the last eleven fiscal years (FY00 to FY10) has supported school districts’ voluntary transition from half-day to full-day kindergarten and the ongoing quality enhancement of existing full-day programs.

The benefits of full-day kindergarten can be maintained and magnified as children continue in school. It can contribute to cost savings and improve educational outcomes if the elements of quality are in place from preschool through third grade, with strong leadership at every level. The Department is committed to full-day kindergarten programs even during fiscally strained times. If there is a need to restructure funding, the Department is open to targeting grant awards to high need districts, including those that meet the new accountability and assistance system schools in levels 3 and 4. We also want to ensure that the Chapter 70 reimbursement policy promotes tuition-free full-day kindergarten and creates disincentives for eliminating existing full-day kindergarten programs.

The full report can be found here:

The other important difference has to do with full-day versus half-day kindergarten. According to the MA state regulations, half-day kindergarten must be free. A school district can charge for full-day kindergarten but it is not as easy as it sounds. The kindergarten educational curriculum required by the state must be delivered free. So even if you have a full-day program and decide to charge for it, the required curriculum must be delivered during the "free" half-day. 

Chapter 70 funds from the state are provided according to a complicated formula. One key number in the formula is the number of eligible students. If you do have a full-day tuition based kindergarten, those students come out of the Chapter 70 reimbursement. So will the community be able to charge enough to fully fund the service they provide and offset the Chapter 70 reimbursement they lose? Not likely.

To explore this further I sat down with Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, Director of Finance Miriam Goodman, and Karen Seyfried, Principal/Director of F.X. O'Regan Early Childhood Development Center.

Franklin offers free full day kindergarten for several reasons:

1 - The Franklin Public School philosophy aligns with the State's direction on full day kindergarten. Early and developmentally appropriate education pays great benefits. The district has been a high-performing district for some time. It is no coincidence that full day kindergarten has been instrumental to the district's success. When other districts go to the State DESE for guidance on how to implement full day kindergarten, Franklin is used as a reference. Franklin Public Schools welcomes such discussions and visits.

2 - Full day kindergarten helps the district manage its Special Education costs. As acknowledged with the quote from the state above, early identification and remediation of instructional issues help the student overcome them quicker. While overall 'out of district' education costs are determined by the state, Franklin helps to control its own destiny with full day kindergarten. It may seem to be a "no-brainer" but this does help. Fewer students require special education with the Franklin program and those that do generally require less of a program overall. Over 90% of the ECDC students go into a general classroom.

3 - Even if Franklin were to explore a tuition-based program for full-day kindergarten, the costs and issues for implementation would not be covered by the money generated by the tuition. The curriculum today is delivered over a full day schedule. Moving to a tuition-based full day would require reworking the curriculum so that the required portion could be covered in the 'free' half day portion leaving the 'enrichment' program for the remaining half day. The tuition lost by removing the kindergarteners from the Chapter 70 reimbursement would require that the tuition charge be in excess of $4300 per student in order to break-even. This would be cost prohibitive.

So while Franklin is surrounded by communities where most charge for kindergarten, it is not a viable option, nor the right direction for Franklin.

School Committee 04/13/10

The collection of live posts from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

"looking at cutting the athletic program"

By Ashley Studley/Daily News staff
Posted Apr 14, 2010 @ 12:35 AM
Some School Committee members last night said taxpayers will need to pass a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override to prevent severe cuts. Moves being considered include the elimination of all sports and extracurricular activities.
The discussion came after Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski gave the committee a general list of possible cuts to bridge its expected $1.8 million deficit if a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override isn't passed. She did not provide specific figures, but will do so at the committee's next meeting.
"I'd like to be able to go to the Town Council (meeting) on the 28th of April, and I'd like the council to fill that gap of $1.8 million with override revenues," Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy said. "We have to stop eliminating these programs."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Open Meeting Law Changes – Request for Comment

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via At Issue & In Focus by Massachusetts Attorney General on 4/13/10

The Open Meeting Law was recently revised as part of the 2009 Ethics Reform Bill, and will centralize responsibility for state-wide enforcement of the law in the Office of the Attorney General.  The effective date of the revised law is July 1, 2010. Historically, the Attorney General has enforced  the Open Meeting Law applicable to state governmental bodies.  Local District Attorney's Office's were responsible for enforcement of the laws relative to cities, towns, and counties. 

Among the changes that become effective July 1, 2010, the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, § 19(c),  will require that, for local public bodies, "notice of public meetings must be filed with the municipal clerk and posted in a manner conspicuously visible to the public at all hours in or on the municipal building in which the clerk's office is located."  The law does not specify the ways in which cities and towns can satisfy this requirement, but an outdoor, weather-proof bulletin board would seem the most obvious means.  Concerned about their practical ability to post numerous meeting notices outdoors, many municipalities have requested that the Attorney General approve alternative notice posting methods as allowed by the Open Meeting Law.  Specifically, numerous municipalities have requested that they be permitted to satisfy the "at all hours" requirements by posting their meeting notices on their town websites.

The AGO, through its Division of Open Government is requesting public comment on proposed alternatives to the notice posting requirement in the Open Meeting Law.  Comment should be submitted by April 23, 2010.

Things you can do from here:

Franklin company earns GM award

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Staff reports on 4/12/10

Clark-Cutler-McDermott Company last month received the 2009 Supplier of the Year Award from General Motors at a ceremony at the Design Dome in Michigan.

The company -  which supplies acoustical insulation and interior trim parts to GM plants throughout the country - was one of 76 companies recognized out of 20,000 worldwide suppliers.

"It is certainly a privilege  and an honor for us to be named a General Motors 2009 Supplier of the Year award recipient,'' President Thomas R. McDermott said in a press release. "The commitment, hard work and dedication of all our employees is reflected in this prestigious award. We are very grateful to General Motors for this honor.''

The award program began in 1992, and each year a global team of purchasing, engineering quality, manufacturing and logistics executives determine the winners. Decisions are based on supplier performance in quality, service, technology and price.

Clark-Cutler-McDermott has three factories at 5 Fisher St.

Things you can do from here:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Live reporting - Information matters/Closing

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparison

facilities update, the grounds will be fertilizer Sunday morning and not be ready for use until Tuesday.  A  Connect-Ed update will also go out to the school population and families

b. Financial Audit
Miriam Goodman - end of year report submitted annually to DESE, the report is extensive, there are three minor findings of expenditures reported on one line instead of another. Overall it was an excellent audit.

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports - none

School Committee Liaison Reports
JPCC today, budget reviewed, hopefully will try to pass that one to their membership

Cafasso - School Bldg committee will meet in early May, progressing on selection of an architect

Glynn - To Mr Sherlock's point, I'll start to collect some items to help present to the community the full and complete story

Roy - at a recent MICA event, seven different school ensembles performed, all seven received medals, one Gold for Franklin High School - will be performing at Symphony Hall in Boston this Saturday

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Trahan - reminder about FEF Trivia Bee on 4/29

Glynn - I was at the MICA Festival to see the middle school perform

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

motion to enter with no intention to return to public
approved 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items

4. Action Items
A. I recommend approval of the 2010-2011 School Calendar with the change discussed. motion to approve, passed 7-0
B - covered earlier in meeting
C. I recommend approval of the field trip request for Keller 5th Grade class to visit Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI on May 7, 2010 as detailed.  motion to approve, passed 7-0
D. I recommend acceptance of a check for $250.00 from the Alliance for Climate Education for the FHS for supplemental curriculum materials.  motion to approve, passed 7-0
E. I recommend approval of the RMS Adventure Club’s recurring trip to Mt. Monadnock, Jaffrey, NH for May 15, 2010 as detailed.  motion to approve, passed 7-0
 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - budget FY 11

3. Discussion Only Items

B. Budget Discussion
Broad and general discussion with regards to the overall Town budget situation
$1.8 million difference between level service and level funded (actually 1.9 but less the 100,000 offset from the Town side)
School Committee meeting on 4/27 would get closer to the choices in advance of the Town Council meeting and discussion on 4/28

working to reduce health care costs via a redesign to allow for only a 3% increase in health care costs.

agreed last year to hold the high school harmless for cuts this year due to decisions made last year

will look at high school athletic fees versus actual operating costs, there may need to be an icrease

we'll be looking at personnel reductions in the K-5

possibly shortening the elementary school day to cover some prep time, may present some challenges for parents but would be out of the box approach to save teachers.

we are not ready at this time to put half day kindergarten on the table. going to half-day would require a systemic redesign of the curriculum, it would likely also bring about some other unintended consequences

wage freezes were obtained last year with the intent that the community would step up to do their part this year.

meeting with the administrative team in the morning to review these and get more specific.

shortening the elementary level only one day a week, not everyday
would require looking at how specialists are scheduled across the district

Cafasso - looking at the transportation contracts, I believe we can do with less buses, some of the rides might get a little longer but there are a lot of empty seats on the buses at Horace Mann

Look at turning down thermostats and see how much that would, if anything, buy us
look at the foreign language curriculum

If the voters in this town don't think they are getting their monies worth, they got another thing coming

Trahan - It is tough but I think the community will need to see what they can contribute this year.

Glynn - pay to ride, look at what it is for everyone. I know it is against state law, These cuts are painful and need to be equitable. Look at everything else we can cut to preserve the sanctity of the classroom.

I stepped up to remind the Committee to come back for their next meeting with the one-page overview reconciliation of where they started and where they are. Already tonight you are talking about 1.9 and 1.8 shortage when on Jan 26th, you were presented a 53.5 million budget that at the time was an increase of 2.2 million over the prior year.

I will help you spread the word on the need for the money but you need to get all the numbers on the same page and be in agreement on what they are. You may not be deliberately trying to confuse the issue but it could be read that way.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - space needs

3. Discussion Only Items
A. Space Needs Sub Committee Report and Modular Rubric
Roberta Trahan - subcommittee chair
Space at the high school but most other space has been utilized
Looking for direction from the committee overall on what to do next, i.e. re-districting

Rohrbach - Davis Thayer space, Town has not yet financed to remove the modular units (although approved by School Committee).

Trahan - with the modulars out, there would be some space depending upon the enrollment at the time

Horace Mann is using space that would otherwise be Oak Streets not the other way around.

Sherlock - Clarification on the use of the rubric, a four point scale but some of the pages had two numbers, hence you couldn't make a decision?
Trahan - yes, some of the modular units fell between the status categories

Sherlock - I was also anticipating that the room capacities would be included so one could assess the true space needs and capacity requirements of what we have and what we need.

Discussion on minor re-districting possible to address crowding at JF Kennedy, Keller and shift to elsewhere.

Sabolinski - We started the re-districting process with space needs, an enrollment projection.
Roy - the last one we did was 2001, so it has lasted for quite some time
Cafasso - we need to look at where these is growth, as you go around town, there is new building coming. Look at the housing turnover, particularly with the elderly leaving at some point to "cash in" on their housing values.

That segways nicely into out budget discussion

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - 5 minute recess

5 minutes recess to allow the JF Kennedy students and families to leave

Live reporting - JF Kennedy food service presentation

2. JF Kennedy Food Service Presentation

5th Graders: Madison Harrington, Kendyl Ryan, Joseph Sarno, Daniel Wasnewsky. 
4th Graders: Jake Noviello, Cameron Riu, Kevin Sassaman,  Camille Fischer. 
3rd Graders: Nitin Chaudhury, Riley Downing, Arun Kavishwar, Cade Ryan.

(copy of presentation to be obtained and added later)

95% said they wanted another choice besides milk for a drink
water and a variety of fruit juices made the list of alternatives

I won't be able to type fast enough to capture the voices and uniqueness of the presentation. Once the on-demand video is available, I'll include the link. It will be well worth a few minutes to watch. These 3-4-5th graders did very well!

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Secretary contract

B. I recommend adoption of the Secretaries Contract for July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013 as detailed.
motion to approve - passed 7-0

Rohrbach - secretaries make things happen in the schools, thanks to them for their effort
Glynn - The end result is not a contract I would approve for my own business, so it’s not a contract that I can approve for the town’s business either.
Mullen - increases are not much due to difficult times, negotiations went very smoothly. Scheduled meetings out in advance, thanks for that.

Douglas - a big thank you!
Roy - a wonderful and collegiate atmosphere, it is surprising that it was done so quickly. Very minimal increase at best. Very key players on this team. Want to see great things for this district. Reach out and say thank you to those present and not tonight.

Rohrbach - It is not a large increase, it is minimal. 
Trahan - I too wish to thank you for collegiate atmosphere and cooperation.

Sabolinski - They are the face of the public schools, there are 17 members in the bargaining unit.

Vote on motion to approve - passed 6-1

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - School Committee Meeting 4/13/10

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent: none

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments - none
Review of Agenda - order of events adjusted slightly (moved adoption of Secretaries Contract up to before the signing ceremony)
Minutes: I recommend approval of the Open and Executive Session minutes from the March 23, 2010 School Committee Meeting.  motion to approve, passed 7-0
Payment of Bills  - Mr. Glynn  motion to approve, passed 7-0
Payroll  - Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Glynn raised question on new schedule vs. three years of the old schedule, thoughts on it?
Gianetti - liked it, work distributed better
Price - longer lunch and bathroom breaks between sessions were good, less time missed from class.

1. Budget to Actual
2. Demand for Arbitration

Franklin, MA




(FRANKLIN) – Franklin will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 17th with a roadside clean up, spring plantings, and new environmental activities for all ages with activities based at Beaver Pond.
Earth Day kicks off “rain or shine” at 9:00 a.m. when volunteers start a town-wide roadside clean up of litter and set out plants and flowers. After this winter’s snowfall, many of the town’s most scenic streets can be quickly restored to an attractive roadside with just a few hours of time. Please bring gloves for each person and rakes.
All volunteers are asked to sign in at Beaver Pond between 9:00am-11:00am, so that the areas most in need of a spring clean up get attention. To nominate a town road which needs a cleanup, please call or email the DPW as soon as possible.
This year, volunteers will be given a trash bags for collecting cans, glass bottles, trash and litter. Volunteers simply leave the bags along the roadside by 1:00 p.m., after which Franklin DPW trucks will pick up the bagged trash.
Last year’s clean up brought out about 250 volunteers and the trash picked up filled one 40 yard dumpster. Over one ton of litter was collected.

Community service certificates are issued to youths and adults who sign in before and after. Earth Day t-shirts are given to the first 300 volunteers and there will be free pizza and beverages starting at 1:00 p.m. for returning clean up crews.
Volunteers are also needed to help pick up donated goods, help run events at Beaver Pond and assist with the registration table.
Also on site will be family recycling crafts, environmental booths, demonstrations, and entertainment. Dean Radio WGAO, will be on site to broadcast live from the event.
Sponsoring groups and businesses this year so far include: Signs by Cam, Rehrig Pacific Company, Waste Management, Comprehensive Environmental, Inc., CDM, Malcolm-Pirnie, Garelick Farms, Aubuchon Hardware, State Forest Advisory Council, Metcalf Materials, Hillside Nurseries, Domino’s Pizza, Bimbo Bakeries, Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Various boys and girls scouts, Hillside Nurseries, Franklin High School Green Team, Franklin Garden Club, Franklin Citizen’s Rail Trail Committee, Green at Dean College, Dean Community Outreach program, Coles Tavern, and Metacomet Land Trust.

Originally posted on the Franklin website here

Walk to School - 3 Week Challenge

Walk to School - 3 Week Challenge

April 14 – Challenge Day Kick-Off

Participants will be given a ticket to track the three days walked over three weeks.
Prize of a “Family Night” for the most participants.
OPEN TO ALL SCHOOLS - Check your school to see if they are participating.
Take the Walking Challenge on April 14th, 28th & May 5th.
Walk to School!!!!!

Sponsored by the Healthy Futures Task Force and the YMCA

Originally posted on the Franklin website here:

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Precincts 2 - 3 - 4 Vote today!

 The primary election to ultimately determine the replacement for Scott Brown's seat is today from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Franklin High School, signs should direct you to the small gym.

Get out and vote!

I'll combine my Tuesday running workout with my vote.

Maybe you could walk to the high school or take a bike?

Franklin, MA