Monday, January 31, 2011

Budget Workshop: Preliminary School Budget

The presentation used during Saturday's budget workshop for the FY 2012 budget for the Franklin (MA) Public Schools.

Franklin Public Schools FY2012 Preliminary Budget

My notes reported live from the Budget workshop can be found here and here

Note: Email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document

Franklin, MA

Getting squeezed

The i495 and King St intersection was completely re-done last year in a MassDOT project. The wide lanes disappear in the snow however so be very careful navigating there.

You really need to be skinny when you get squeezed into what was a full lane but is no longer and there is an 18 wheeler next to you. Be careful!

While the State did the reconstruction of the interchange, does any one know who is responsible for this section to be plowed: the State or Franklin?

Franklin, MA

Tale of two sidewalks (part 2)

It is good to see that downtown businesses can be taken care of. After all, business is at the heart of Franklin.

From what I hear, some folks would like the sidewalks around schools to be given a little more attention.

Parmenter School looked like this Friday morning:

To be fair, I need to go back to Parmenter to see what it looks like today. The downtown picture was taken Saturday afternoon. The DPW do a tremendous job. They have not added personnel since the 1990's and their amount of roads to cover has grown in that time. One of the two sidewalk snow plows dates back to 1970's. But it all costs money!

Franklin, MA

Work real hard to clear the snow!

Someone will need to be really energetic to clear all the snow with this mortar and pestle!

Stir, stir, stir!

Franklin, MA

In the new - Simon's, efficient schools

Simon’s Furniture celebrates 100 years in Franklin


National report: Franklin schools run efficiently

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 30, 2011

School Budget Workshop - hand out from Sat Jan 29, 2011

The handout from the Budget Workshop held on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 is now available in PDF form.

Note: In the conversion from hard copy to PDF, page 1 of 4 in the budget detail section was inadvertently copied twice. Otherwise, the document is as handed out Saturday.

Franklin, MA Public Schools - Budget Workshop Handout 1/29/2011

My notes reported live from the Budget workshop can be found here and here

Note: Email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document

Franklin, MA

FM #84 - Week Ending Jan 30, 2011

Let's spend a few minutes to catch up on what matters in Franklin, MA as this week ends Jan 30, 2011. We'll look at the Town Council goal setting session, the School Committee budget workshop and close with some of the music and conversation from Ben Franklin's birthday party at the Historical Museum on Jan 23

Time: 21 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 84 in the series for Franklin Matters.

I missed last week's show due to technical issues with my laptop. Those issues have been resolved and I am up to speed writing and reporting again but still trying to catch up on some things. As the week ends this Sunday, Jan 30th, the snow is piled up higher than my mailbox and winter is still upon us.

In this session we'll spend sometime with the Town Council who held their goal setting session on Weds Jan 19. From that session we'll look into the possible field use fee, and the future of the old museum. The School Budget workshop was held on Saturday providing a preview of the budget to be unveiled on Tuesday, Feb 1. It is not going to be pretty.

On a more positive note, we'll close with a sample or two from Ben Franklin's birthday party held at the Historical Museum on Sunday Jan 23rd. There were many folks came in throughout the afternoon. I know I had a great time talking with several. Those who came by were able to learn from Vera Meyer about the glass harmonica that Ben invented while listening to her play.

1 -

The Council goal setting session was a more informal meeting than most. Five councilors participated along with Jeff Nutting and Maxine Kinhart. Brian Benson and I were the only others in attendance. Jeff provided his update on the overall FY 2012 budget, it will be a very tough budget year with a deficit of about 4-5M dollars expected. How to address the systemic expense side of the budget is where much of the discussion took place. The group will hold a working session with the School Committee to get into more detail on health benefits and what options there are to control them. They would like to look at how to get the retirees to share more of the cost. The employees currently contribute 32% of the cost with the Town picking up 68%. Moving to a 50/50 split would take $10 M out of the budget. Doing this is also subject to collective bargaining with the Towns unions. The working session would bring in a health care specialist and be held in 'executive session' due to the collective bargaining nature of some of the discussion.

While the overall Town revenue is ultimately in the voters hands (by their determination of any override or debt exclusion), there are some smaller items that can be used to help prepare to cover for eventual costs. For example, the artificial turf fields will need to replaced sometime down the road. By adding a user fee now, a small fee can accumulate over the years of use by the various sports teams and when the fields do need to be replaced, the funds should be available. Pay a little now or pay a whole lot later. The fields were purchased and installed with a grant of what something in the neighborhood of 4-6M. Adding a small fee to each participant in a sport for each season will set up a fund to be able to pay for the replacement.

Somehow this has become quite a lightning rod. It is not meant to cover maintenance of the fields, those are covered in the regular operational budget. It is meant to cover the replacement of the artificial turfs. The simplest and fairest way to implement the fee is for all to share. If you tried to do t just with those sports using those fields, that would get real complicated and ultimately be unfair. This is only a proposal. It has not been determined when it will appear on a Council agenda for further discussion.

2 - 

The old museum came up in discussion but rightfully belongs with the Historical Commission to make a decision or propose some options for the Council to weigh in on. To do otherwise would not be appropriate. The Historical Commission is the group of record responsible for managing the property. The Council ultimately can have its say but HC needs to take the lead. It is not an simple matter. There is a pumping station on the property but it should not hinder usage. The lot is zoned residential but you could not put in a residential building without a ZBA variance. The lot is currently too small for a residence. If it were used for something other than a residence, the neighbors would have their say. The property has been quiet for quite some time. The church that had turned over the property to the town still has first right to it should we not want it. The church merged in with what is the Franklin Federated and doesn't really exist as a separate church today.

To re-use the building itself would require extensive renovations. Before even going down that path, you need to determine a use for the property. Once the use is determined, then the proper planning can be done to see what it would take to bring it up to current zoning and building code requirements to meet the need. Then you could begin to look at alternative ways of funding the renovations. So let's not get wrapped around the axle of a cart that may not even need to move.

3 - 

The School Committee, Central Office and all the principals meet for their budget workshop on Sat Jan 29th. Councilors Tina Powderly and Glenn Jones also participated. Julie Balise from the Milford Daily News and I were the only non-school, public representatives. Disappointing but that is what it is.

The preview of the budget shows an ugly picture. Even with an almost level service proposal, there are 14 plus positions being lost which will result in further increases to class size. I was not provided a copy of the document but didn't press the issue as the full budget package is coming out Tuesday night anyway.

Why 'almost level service'? This is due to the stimulus funds provided the last couple of years. The funds were required to be applied to keep some existing positions and to fund some positions that would otherwise be cut. With the stimulus funding gone this year, those positions come back on the budget to the tune of about 1.1 M. This accounts for the bulk of the personnel increase of 1.7M with the balance mostly in contractual commitments.

A nice what-if scenario was explored. With Franklin at 10,010 per pupil expenditures, and the State average at 13,006 – what would the State average look like for the Franklin budget? Try 78M, yes much more than the 52 million proposed. It would provide the budget that just about should be if the prior year cuts were not implemented. Another way to look at it, if the failed override for schools had passed since 2002, this is closer to what the school budget would be today. Very pie in the sky and unrealistic but certainly an insightful perspective.

4 - 

So instead of closing on this depressing note, let's shift to include some segments of the party held at the Historical Museum on Sunday Jan 23. As I mentioned in the opening, there was good attendance, Many folks came in throughout the afternoon. I know I had a great time talking with several. Those who came by were able to learn from Vera Meyer about the glass harmonica that Ben invented while listening to her play. I hope she is able to come back to the museum in the future. The instrument is special and her presentation of it is engaging.

I hope you enjoy these few minutes from what was a really pleasant afternoon.

Photos from the afternoon at the Museum can be found here


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin. I can use your help.

How can you help, you ask?

If you have an interest in covering the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and or the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings in Franklin, please let me know.

And as always -

  • If you like this, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like this, please tell me

Without this feedback loop, I can not improve this service.

Thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Feb 2, 2011

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – January 12, 2011




Design Review - Chris Baryluk as member
Len Rafuse as Associate member


G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS - Maguro House – Change of Manager

1. Updates:

  • Snow Budget
  • Meeting with Recreation Advisory Board
  • Handicap Parking
  • High School Feasibility Study
  • FY 2012 Budget


1. Resolution 11-05: Authorization to Expend Funds in Excess of Available Appropriations





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


Franklin, MA

Survey on priorities - lack of substantial results hinders progress

Survey results:

What one service would you discontinue?
I would like to see homeowners made responsible for shoveling their own sidewalks so that the students could walk to school. If a snowfall over a certain amount, then the town's sidewalk plows could be used to assist and supplement. Also, if the schools and library and other departments are cut a certain percentage, then so should the senior center. The senior center should not be exempt from cuts. I believe that all services provide benefits. Even though some services may be stretched thin, eliminating one might mean that, in the future, it would be difficult to put back. If something is truly obsolete, and I can't think of any service that is, it should be eliminated.
Some winter classes, to save heat costs. Is it possible to change the calendar year to go to school through June and take 1-2 additional weeks off in the winter?
Most people only use the "optional" services of police and fire and trash, most "mandated" services offered I don't need. You should put the list somewhere for reference in this survey, so people could see how many useless things there are. If schools are "mandated", why are they always the first cut?

What one service would you keep?
Obviously the schools and essential services such as police and fire.
AP classes. The gifted/talented get little to no service in elementary school, then maybe some attention at the middle school. AP in high school is their only hope of sharing challenging course work with like-minded students.
Police, Fire, Trash, roads, Health and Building inspectors. Schools, and there is a LOT that could be trimmed there.

The survey did not come close to achieving what was intended so it is back to the drawing board.

Franklin, MA

In the News - health survey, Horace Mann charter schools

Hockomock YMCA wants local input on Franklin obesity programs

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Horace Mann charter schools reopen education debate

Franklin, MA

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2 years of sharing comes to an end

As of yesterday, Chairman Dennis Crowley had not talked with anyone from the library but said he was "anxious to hear the board of trustees' point of view and rationale."
Crowley said the two-town agreement saved money and helped the library be flexible with its hours.
"I think, maybe not in the immediate future, but certainly in the extended future there's going to be regional libraries because individual towns cannot afford to sustain individual libraries within the budget constraints," he said.
Rowe said ending the agreement with Franklin will not force Medway's library to cut hours or put its accreditation in jeopardy.
Franklin Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said sharing services is "the wave of the future" and that the library agreement could have led to a long-term relationship between the two towns.
The real issue, he said, is whether the libraries are serving their patrons.

Read the remainder of the article about Medway ending their agreement to share Library Directors

I missed this article when it was originally posted on Thursday of this week. I caught up to it when looking to verify the spelling of the reporters name who attended the School Budget Workshop today

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - School Budget Workshop - (after break)

Part 1 can be found here

Question - Rohrbach
Basically level service budget, some positions under ARRA have been included, some have not - hence the "not-quite-level-service" budget.  What does the 1.7M  represent?

Goodman - most of the 1.7 M is accounted for by the 1.1M ARRA funds expiring. The remainder are due to contractual obligations under which we are still negotiation.

Rohrbach - we have been in maintenance mode,

Sabolinksi - level service is a misnomer, 14 plus positions are eliminated, classroom  teachers
5 elem, 3 middle school, Director Alt Ed, etc. are positions that are not in this budget.

Glynn - We have the not-so-level service, we have seen what it would look like with the average State per pupil expenditure. Do we have a feel for what would be in the middle? What we would restore here and there previously cut?

Sabolinski - We could do a lot with 10M

Glynn - where is it that we would restore to, so that we could feel good about it?
Kingsland-Smith - how about getting to average?

Sabolinski - If we got 10M we could bring 60 teachers back, that would be huge for class size, programs, etc. We don't need to jump to $78 million to be great. We could jump halfway there and still be better than average.

Powderly - I am looking for something that people will hold on to. I'd love to have some illustrative points to tel the story.

Roy - The most pressure we are in is with the teachers contract. There was a sense that the teachers weren't hearing the School Committee. There was a sense that the School Committee wasn't hearing the teachers. We had a special session about 2.5 hours open session where we heard those stories about what is going on. People are protective, they don't want morale to fall. The only thing they care about is the kids in the classroom. It was certainly very impact full to hear the teachers tell the stories.

Powderly - I know your hearing and there are folks who would use that in a malicious manner.

Jones - that is the beauty of the anonymity of the comments in a newspaper article. How do we convince the community that we need an investment in the community?

Roy - I think if we can get the nine voices on the Council to buy into this, that will go along way. It is very difficult to build this beautiful piece but it is so easy to tear it down. One naysayer throwing out a comment can   undo that.

Cafasso - when we do the presentation to the community and to the Council, we need to include the DESE numbers on the state averages. There are 6200 kids in the district. 20% of this community is in school, don't tell me to cut the fat. We appreciate the Town taking over the facilities, it was a good move. 60% of this Town isn't paid for by the Town, it is paid for by people who buy lottery tickets.

Glynn - for the sake of argument, if we put together a budget around a number below the average but above where we are.

Jones - It is the democratic way that determines the decision. What it boils down to is that the naysayers are winning. We are not going to change the way the game is played just because you don't get what you want.
We are not in the best economic position to propose this. There is more to this than just the numbers, there is the overall value of the Town based upon the education, the outcome of the future due to our children's education.

Roy - that is a great segway to the next segment of this discussion on the impact of the budget.


Mrs Minkle - We have been telling this story since 2002 when we started loosing teachers and programs. Our top priority is classroom teachers and class size. range from 18-27. Depends upon building population. We haven't yet had kindergarten registration, so that is open. We are using the last years number asa starting point

Rohrbach - 23 out of 125 classes would be above recommended class size?
Minke - Yes, that is correct.

Sabolinski - This is based upon the $52 M budget propsed. If we don't get all of that, the numbers would be different.

Cafasso - Are there other program impacts?

Minkle - we are feeling the effects across the board, every one of those cuts effects the students in the classroom. Just the amount of time on each student decreases. We are always asked to do more with less, RTI, ELL, the list is growing - these are unfunded mandates.

Kingsland-Smith - the 2008 data showed testing in three buildings, we have testing in every building. Some recent immigrants speak no English whatsoever. Classroom teachers, specialists, etc are now engaging in additional team work to set plans for at risk students.

Rohrbach - The cuts started in 2002? how would

Minkle - 22 vs. 28 on class size, amount of time a student can get from their teacher. These are our most vulnerable. From K to 12. These are our future. The experiences they are missing can not be replaced.

Roy - I remember last year during the budget, I got a text from my daughter who came to the meeting to speak personally to the changes she has seen.

Sabolinksi - instrumental music doesn't exist in Elementary anymore, yet expectations at Federal and State level have increased (unfunded mandates, etc.) We have relied on our teachers so we have been able to survive.

Kingsland-Smith - in the MCAS scores, Elementary was out of a problem zone, the last couple of years we are seeing these scores creeping in.

Lisa Trainor - we can see being efficient with less, over time the working conditions are not something you can maintain, there are increases in absence, increases in grievence.

Middle schools

Beth Wittcoff
17 classes will exceed recommendation on class size with the loss of 6 teacher positions
Math CET loss will risk gains made in AYP, the gains made in large part to the Match CETs
Provide acceleration for 7th graders as well as those falling behind

24 positions lost since 2004,
loss of a dedicated health class, infusing health anywhere they can see fit.
Latin instruction was loss but switched to Spanish
in ago of response to intervention (RTI) it is a challenge, it is not just an obligation, it is a calling

Michael Levine
Sometimes it works to our disadvantage that we are so efficient, the social emotional problems that occur during this age, if they are not addressed by the teachers and faculty

Paul Pieri
It is also the appearance we put forward, do we still do foreign language, to go from offering three languages to offering one, the extent of it has drastically changed from 2002 to now.

Glynn - you expressed it very well, it is a calling. Education is being eroded, "not in my classroom" was an immediate response from one teacher.

Sabolinski - the principals are trying to insulate the teachers as much as possible from the budget discussions. I have a monthly round table. Morale is really good, we appreciate not having conversations about budget all the time. Come April/May, there will be more anxiety, but the teachers have been allowed to focus on education. As for the principals, this is not a seasonal thing, we are working at this all year, trying to think how we can do more with less, do things better with what we have.

High School

Mr Light
Director, ALP is a loss, a number of the teachers at the high school
1100 principal, director of student services, 4 asst
1600 principal, 3 asst principals - effectively lost about 40% of the administration with a larger school

These are the neediest students in Franklin, because we have been successful in this program, our dropouts have decreased, from 26 to 5, amongst the best in the state. The work that coordinator does has been critical to that success. The work will have to shift, where we have not yet determined.

The high school has been impacted by reductions across the district. The language program because a more meeting students needs rather than a well thought out program.

There is a reduction in type and breadth of programs. The Math, ELA, and Science are where the focus is due to where the reporting is required. All the other services are less priority.

It costs Franklin much more to send a student to Tri-County as it does to educate here. Many of the students end up coming back because the educational needs are not being met there, but the money has already gone out of the district and doesn't come back that year.

Sabolinski - I think we have tried to layout in the budget what it will take to stop the hemorrhaging of resources. I see this as essential to maintaining our programs. We are really at a district out of places to cut. We can not cut administrative staff. This is a pivotal time for the school community. Education after this would become unrecognizable to what we used to be able to provide in 2002.

Roy - You have talked today about the $52M and 5% increase, it does not cover impacts about what would happen if we don't get that amount.

Rohrbach - Each asst principal covers 850 students each? What is a good number?
Light - I think around 500-600 would be better.
Rohrbach - so the loss of one has an impact

Rohrbach - one question we have received is could we have one principal over both middle and elementary schools?

Minke- one, I am not certified for Middle School, it is a separate factor. If we don't have the social/emotional factors covered for each age group, education will not occur.

Kingsland-Smith - The schools are divided for a reason, there is a whole lot of educational thought and science put into the building arrangement and educational process.

Wycoff - it would create a 900-1000 student school, Franklin was instrumental in getting to smaller buildings and it was reflected in the district performance. This would be a significant step back. In order to do this job right, it takes time. We are working with the students to help them learn and learn from their mistakes.

Trainor - I don't think you would save any money on a cost benefit analysis.

Roy - Scheduling of buildings is difficult, you are going through scheduling and that is also a negotiation point so we won't get into details. Can you speak to the schedule changes?

Light - We looked at our class sizes and wanted to avoid getting into 30+ students per class and adjusted the schedule dropping one period. We have no way financially to get that seventh period back. We can't afford to bring in sufficient teachers to do so. The kids would like to take an additional elective but we can't go there.

Rohrbach - can you do more on the transfer out of Franklin High topic?

Light - We lost 150 students to private and vocational schools,  $16K plus for Tri-County vs. $10K for FHS.

Sabolinski - If the students don't fit what the program is, are invited to leave Tri-County. We are looking at numbers and in particular, in the period shortly after October the students come back. October 1 is the cut off for State numbers that determine the funding.

Roy - Now the Tr-County budget also goes before the Town Council and in recent years they have gotten few if any questions. When Franklin comes before the Council for a dime, we get grilled. You can help turn that tide.

Glynn - at a high level would would it take to get that schedule?
Light - about 15-20 teachers at a minimum

Glynn - The report reflecting data from two years ago, when we had that schedule, showed we were highly efficient. Yet we can't get back to that without millions of dollars.

Trahan - we know what the research says, we know what the kids need, yet every year the budget gets cut. We thank you for all you do. For the one override that did pass, it will take a united council to bring it forward to the people. I was on the first Long Range Financial Planning, I am not on the second go around. If the Council can at least understand at least half of what we have found today, that will help. Thanks to Miriam  for the budget presentation. I am not a budget person and I can understand this.

Jones - I can not speak for the Council. Really and truly, all that we can ask is that we look for in every area we can find, a dollar reduction. We try and keep things on a lean level and try to keep education. It is a balancing act. It is a lot for us to ask of the Town. It will take an effort of everyone we know. Everyone should get a little information to pass along. We can't fix what has been done but we can fix what lies ahead. Not only get it to them but make them understand it.

Roy - I think we heard today that we can not cut any more. We have to take responsibility for our kids. We have to have the community to step up to the plate. We need to fund our responsibilities. I am not convinced that we are meeting our obligations.

Glynn - if this level of taxes is what we can afford, then the services need to adjust. If you can't understand the future, look at what is happening to Egypt. If you are worried about the debt level, worry about the educational preparation that these kids will have.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - School Budget Workshop

I won't list all the attendees, suffice to say all the School Committee, all the Central Office, and if not all the individual school principals, etc. are here. The 3rd floor training room is full.

At this time, I don't see anyone else from the 'public' here

Updated - Town Councilor, Glenn Jones, just arrived

Updated - Town Councilor, Tina Powderly and Julie Balise, Milford Daily News arrived

Meeting opens
Jeff Roy - The things that happen in this District could not happen without the tremendous efforts that you and your co-workers bring to the class room every day

Maureen Sabolinski - thanks to the School Committee for the food and refreshments, we normally don't eat this well. The partnership with the School Committee is a special relationship and a big help to us. We are a desirable place to work despite the budget challenges.

Jeff - "State of the District" - there are a lot of good things happening here in the District. The Town Council has appointed a Long Range Financial Planning Committee and hopefully they will be able to address the overall financial budget picture for Franklin. The School Building committee is working on the High School renovation project and that is on the road to actually happen.

Contracts are under negotiation and three have been settled thus far.
The Space Needs Subcommittee completed their comprehensive analysis of the district.
District bullying plan and policies are on track, we met the State deadlines despite some published reports that no one did anything.
There is a subcommittee doing work on nutrition and we'll be hearing more about that as we go.
More 42,000 views, about 1,000 per month to the School Committee blog.
The override buzz is already starting, be aware of it.
The budget hearing is going earlier than usual.
Center for American Progress report recognized Franklin among 21 districts in MA and about 9,000 across the US. We have been saying that we spend money wisely, finally we have some empirical data by an outside group to help us state that case. The data is based upon a couple of years ago so continuing that trend when we have lost 100 teachers since then is not something we can continue.
We are sending kids out into a world we were don't know what the jobs will look like 10 or 20 years down the road. We need to prepare them as best we can.
"The new normal" is a reality, doing more with less, stuff we have been doing for years.
There is a lot of anger out there, there is a lot of anger in our own community.
"A pay to spray" story of community in KY with a fire service fee, a house who had a fire but hadn't paid the fee was watched burn to the ground.
We have to maintain a commitment to our values and present a budget that reflects those values. Let's remember why we are in this business together.

Maureen - these numbers are preliminary

Miriam Goodman

Revenue sources
Required municipal contribution
Cherry sheet identity revenue to the Town
The Charter School money is taken off this
Chap 70 preliminary $26,857,636

Chap 70 accounts for about 54% of the budget

Federal revenue

  • Title I, Title II, IDEA, Title IV
  • Title I and IDEA are generally funding personnel (i.e. teachers)

Revolving Accounts

  • Circuit breaker
  • Lifelong learning
  • Food Service
  • Transportation
  • Athletics
  • Extracurricular

$52,487,573 total currently proposed, an increase of $2,612,573 or 5% (4.98%)
14.3 positions were funded via ARRA and not available at this time
Healthcare 12% increase
Contractual obligations $2,075,749 (mostly ARRA money no longer available)

FY 2009 Per Pupil - 10,010 vs State average of 13,006
If we had the State average funding, we would have a budget of $78M
Long listing of items that could be added back, we would be on the "good to great" road

Question from Tina Powderly to clarify the ARRA funds

Referring to the handout (full copy to be added later)

Discussion on summary of budget from this page (pictured)

The budget book tells the story of the district, a page on each school tells the story of each school. Lays out a vision for where we are going as a district, and how we spend our funds efficiently and effectively.

Taking ten minutes to formulate questions and continue

Part 2 of the budget workshop continues here

Franklin, MA

School Calendar: 2012 - 2013

The school calendar for the 2012 - 2013 school year as approved by the School Committee at their Jan 25, 2011 meeting.


Franklin, MA

School Calendar: 2011 - 2012

The school calendar for the 2011 - 2012 school year as approved by the School Committee at their Jan 25, 2011 meeting and revised at their Marc 29, 2011 meeting.


Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document.

Note: this is the revised 2011-2012 calendar as approved at the School Committee meeting of Mar 29, 2012

Franklin, MA

Override History Updated

Thanks to Judy Pfeffer for providing an update to the spreadsheet with the override history as there was one missing. The General Election in Nov 2004 included an override question and the details have been updated.

If you haven't viewed the spreadsheet it is a 'public' document and available here

The total operational overrides Franklin has voted on is 8, only one of which passed (2007).

There were 10 debt exclusions (primarily for school buildings) 7 of the 10 passed. (In the details, at least one of these had a couple of tries.)

There were 9 capital exclusions and all failed.

Franklin, MA

In the News - Old Catholic Church

Franklin church offers Mass to those who feel left out

Franklin, MA

Friday, January 28, 2011

Clear Snow Away From Furnace Pipes (video)

A public service contribution from Bill Glynn on the need to keep your furnace pipes clear of snow.

Thanks for sharing this Bill!

Note: For email subscribers, you will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this video.

Franklin, MA

"a tough budget season for the town of Franklin"

Under Patrick's plan, local aid to Franklin would be cut by $228,753.
In fiscal 2011, the town's aid from the state was reduced by more than $1 million, according to state Department of Revenue figures.
Patrick's plan, unveiled this week, would cut the fiscal 2012 budget by $570 million. Aid to cities and towns would be reduced by $65 million, but Chapter 70 funding for public schools would rise by $140 million.
"It sounds like the governor wants to preserve school funding," Town Council Vice Chairman Stephen Whalen said. "If that helps us not have as big a deficit with the schools, then that's great."
School budgeting is always challenging because it involves special education and other costs that are difficult to control, Whalen said.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Additional information on the FY 2012 budget can be found here

Friendly reminder: the School budget workshop is Saturday, Jan 29th beginning at 8:30 AM in the Municipal Bldg, 3rd floor Training Room.

Franklin, MA

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Specific costs have yet to be determined"

The plan creates eight clusters which each have four classrooms, a group project room, science lab and space for teachers to provide individual instruction, said Michael McKeon, of Foxborough-based Kaestle Boos Associates.
"These clusters or teams actually have all the services they need within the cluster to support that learning group, which is actually a very advanced or modern way to organize a school," he said.
Two clusters would be reserved for freshmen, who are already grouped for most classes, and one would be for a pre-existing arts academy. The remaining clusters would be for sophomores, juniors and seniors who would be grouped by interests with faculty who share those interests, Principal Peter Light said.
"What you're trying to do is make the school a little smaller for students," Light said. "When you provide them a home base and smaller learning community you actually boost student achievement."
You can read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

"You can't be a best plant and not be a safe plant"

"The success is driven by a great work force," plant manager Jim Clark said yesterday at an event celebrating the recognition.
In 2005, when General Cable purchased the plant, it was on the verge of closing. But plant officials, attracted to Franklin by its proximity to regional highways, improved efficiency without laying off any workers, Clark said.
The magazine noted plant leaders have transitioned to a flexible work force which has employees shift among several jobs and who are encouraged to come up with their own ideas for improvements.
The magazine praised the plant for developing charts at each workstation that provide step-by-step instructions for how to resolve common issues that may affect quality, such as properly measuring each cable to make sure it is the correct diameter.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

You can find the Industry Week article here with additional details on the recognition for General Cable's Franklin facility.

The General Cable website can be found here

Franklin, MA

You're Invited!

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 1/26/11

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Preliminary Analysis: The Governor's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

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Preliminary Analysis:
The Governor's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Governor's budget proposal (House 1) for Fiscal Year 2012 recommends both significant reforms and deep cuts.  While the national economy is still struggling to recover from a recession worse than any since the depression of the 1930s, the assistance that the federal government had provided to reduce the severity of state budget cuts during this economic crisis is ending.  

As a result, the coming budget year will likely be even more challenging than the past three.

This Preliminary Analysis provides a quick overview of the Governor's budget proposal. The report, Preliminary Analysis: The Governor's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget, is available at or by clicking here.

A more complete analysis will be provided in our Budget Monitor, which will be released late next week.

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.

FY2012 Local Aid Proposals

The FY2012 local aid estimates based on Governor Deval Patrick's budget proposal have been posted to the Division of Local Services' web site at the link below:

The Governor's budget proposal recommends funding FY2012 Chapter 70 at $3.990 billion or $139.3 million higher than FY2011.  The Governor's budget also recommends reducing Unrestricted General Government Aid by $65 million to $834.0 million in FY2012.  Most other cherry sheet accounts are funded at the FY2011 level.
Please be advised that these estimates are based on the appropriation levels appearing in the Governor's FY2012 budget proposal (House 1) and may change as the legislative process unfolds and proposed appropriation levels change.
Please note that Charter School and School Choice assessments may change significantly when updated to reflect spring enrollment data and final tuition rates.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has published the Chapter 70 aid calculations, minimum contributions and net school spending requirements on the Office of School Finance website at:
To review additional information about how the estimates were determined and what may cause them to change in the future, click on the link at the bottom for an index of the FY2012 programs and links to individual explanations.
If you have questions about these estimates please call Lisa Juszkiewicz at (617) 626-2386, or Jared Curtis at (617) 626-2320.

From the MA DLS email

"keep all the schools open"

through minor redistricting, some students could be sent to Oak Street Elementary School, which has the most available classroom space, she said. She said that would not impact middle school enrollment since Kennedy and Oak Street students already attend the same middle school.
In 2008, school officials estimated it costs $30,000 per year to operate all the modulars and would cost $20,000 to remove a set of modular classrooms from a school.
Updated cost figures were not presented at the meeting, but Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting has told the subcommittee there would likely be funding available to remove one set each summer, according to the report.
"I hope all the plans you laid out are followed," School Committee member Ed Cafasso said. "Some of these are outside our total control. ... I hope we do our part to go forward with this."
Read the full article about the School Committee meeting in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Correction: Library is collecting books, will hold Book Sale

While a recent headline did say that the Franklin Public Library was not accepting books for the next book sale, that is not true.

Cynthia Dobrzynski, Chairperson of the Library Board of Directors, sent me this email:
The Franklin Public Library continues to accept donations and will hold a book sale in May. We are grateful to the Friends of the Franklin Library for their support and past efforts in running our book sale.
As we had just received a letter in the mail from the Friends of the Library which was confusing, I wrote back to ask for clarification. Cynthia replied:

The Friends were wrong in stating that they were no longer accepting donations. Donations are to the Library, not the Friends. There is still the same space at the Library for sorting donations. The Friends were never denied this space. However, the Library could no longer allow the Friends space to store books year round on the premises when it was deemed necessary to allocate such space for other uses better suited to provide services. We worked diligently to find other storage space and Jeff Nutting has been very supportive of our efforts. The Friends have been aware of this issue for quite awhile and did not attempt to make other arrangements in the meantime. We expect other storage space to be available shortly. 
At this time, the Library plans to run the next book sale with the assistance of volunteers and the support of the Board of Directors.
I hope this clarifies things. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

Franklin, MA

Tale of 2 sidewalks

There is a significant difference in how well the current equipment can clear the sidewalks. Franklin has four devices, a couple of plows for sidewalks and a couple of snow throwers for sidewalks. The plows can move faster but as show below don't really do a great job.

Let me be clear about what I mean by a great job: I don't mean that there is not good time and effort put in, there is. But would you have your elderly parents walk down this? Sidewalks like this are hard to walk on when you are young and fully functioning.

The first photo above was taken Saturday morning, the second photo was taken Saturday afternoon. The snow thrower had gotten to the other side of the street by then. This one leaves a much cleaner path. Not perfect but much better than the plow leaves.

Given the choice between the two, I'd wait for the snow thrower to clear the sidewalks rather than have the plow cruise by.  What about you?

Franklin, MA

In the News - Planning Board, School Committee

Franklin developer agrees to restriction


Franklin board to talk about school space needs

Franklin, MA

Legal Food Frenzy 2011

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via At Issue & In Focus by Massachusetts Attorney General on 1/24/11

Help Fight Hunger in Massachusetts!
Law firms, law schools and legal organizations are encouraged to sign up now to participate in Massachusetts' second annual "Legal Food Frenzy" sponsored by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in partnership with the legal community.

The Legal Food Frenzy is a benevolent competition within the legal community to raise funds and collect food to benefit food banks and their member agencies, food pantries and shelters during the spring, a traditionally slow time for donations. In these tough financial times, the role of food banks and hunger relief agencies have become even more crucial as more and more Massachusetts residents are seeking help to put food on the table.

Last year's first annual Legal Food Frenzy was piloted in the Greater Boston area and benefitted the Greater Boston Food Bank. Over 46 law firms, law schools and legal associations participated in the competition in 2010 and collectively raised the equivalent of, in food and funds, 350,000 pounds of food, providing an additional 180,000 meals for hungry families in eastern Massachusetts. 

In 2011, the Legal Food Frenzy will be expanded to benefit all four Massachusetts Food Banks and donations will serve the entire Commonwealth. The competition will be held from March 28, 2011 – April 8, 2011. Learn more.

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