Monday, November 7, 2011

Email from Ed Cafasso

When I was first considered running for election to the Franklin School Committee six years ago, a veteran member of the Town Council told me: "You should run for Council. That's where the action is."
I chose to run for School Committee and never regretted it. It's been an honor to serve the community as a volunteer in such an important and challenging role.
Today, I ask for your vote this Tuesday as I seek a fourth term. All of the incumbents on the Committee have earned your vote. I also urge you to support school advocates, including School Committee Chairman Jeff Roy, who are seeking election to the Town Council.
A quick summary of three key issues facing the Franklin schools underlines why your vote Tuesday is so critical.
BUDGET: The School Committee's proposed budget for the current fiscal year was $52.48 million. This amount would have allowed us to maintain service levels.  The Town Council reduced it in June by $1 million to $51.4 million and then last month cut an additional $350,000 because they disagreed with the School Committee's decision to approve a 1 percent wage increase to teachers.
As of 2010, the Franklin schools spent $2,700 less per student than the state average. We are well below average in every category except special education, which is a mandated cost. You can see our data at:
However, thanks to our teaching and administrative staff and the commitment of parents, Franklin remains a very high-performing district academically based on standardized test results, graduation rates, college acceptances, awards, athletic rankings, etc. You can view recent MCAS results at:
During the past two years, emergency economic aid from the state and federal governments has allowed us to maintain teaching positions that otherwise would have been eliminated. It also has helped take some pressure off the municipal budget. But that subsidy is scheduled to end as of June 30, 2012.
The budget discussions coming up in the spring of 2012 will mark a watershed moment for the direction of education funding in Franklin. I will continue to work hard to see that our schools are treated fairly and are appropriately recognized for their efficiency and for their contribution to the community's property values and quality of life.
TEACHERS: Today, we have the same number of teachers that we had in the 2011-02 school year, but they are trying to teach 500 more students. Our teachers and administrators are under extreme pressure to keep pace with student needs amid undesirable class sizes.
In the months ahead, teachers are committed to working collaboratively with the School Committee to negotiate a new contract designed to reward achievement in the classroom while saving the taxpayers of Franklin substantial money.
If we are successful, we will replace the antiquated steps and lanes wage structure with one that recognizes teaching skills and student performance. And we will begin to move away from the automatic wage increases that force annual budget deficits and lay-offs in Franklin.
Our move toward a performance-based mindset is an outgrowth of School Supt. Maureen Sabolinski's unheralded effort in the past few years to install a more rigorous teacher evaluation system. In fact, Franklin's reputation has led state official to select our district to pilot a new performance evaluation process that may eventually be rolled out statewide. 
It is a tribute to the integrity and commitment of our teachers that they have responded enthusiastically to this evolution. These contract negotiations and the implementation of a new model for teaching standards are critical to Franklin's academic and financial future. They will be a top priority for me if I am re-elected.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL: In the next four weeks, the details of the proposed new model school will be discussed and finalized – the design, the specifications, the drawings and the cost estimate for the new building are scheduled for submission to state officials by December 9.
If all goes well, the Massachusetts School Building Authority will vote on our submission in January. Their approval will set the stage for town-wide vote in March 2012 on a debt exclusion to finance the project so that Franklin can qualify for a 57.9% reimbursement of the total approved cost.
Assuming the community agrees to seize this opportunity and barring unforeseen issues, a new high school to serve Franklin will open its doors to students in September 2014. You can find more information at: More will be unveiled as details are finalized.
I have been proud to serve on the High School Building Committee since its inception and look forward to continuing to focus on keeping this exciting project moving forward to serve current and future students and the community.
As you can see, the Franklin schools hold their fair share of "the action" in our community. That's why it is so important that you and others take a few minutes this Tuesday to vote. The weather forecast is perfect, so I look forward to seeing you at the Field House.
You can learn more about my candidacy through two links – a Milford Daily News profile at; and a Franklin Matters interview at
I would appreciate anything you can do to share this email with your friends in Franklin and to urge them to vote on Tuesday. This e-mail reflects my opinion alone and is provided as a constituent service. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these e-mails, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.
Thank you for your support!

Ed Cafasso, Member
Franklin School Committee

Note: this is a sharing exercise, this is not an endorsement of this candidate.

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