Saturday, January 8, 2011

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 1/11/11

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

Mission Statement
The Franklin Public Schools, in collaboration with the community, will cultivate each student's intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.

"The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law."

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the open and executive sessions of the December 14, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
1. Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
2. Payroll Mrs. Douglas
3. FHS Student Representatives
4. Correspondence
 - Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. FHS Girls Soccer Team
b. Harry Potter Re-write – Davis Thayer - Debbie Taylor (Teacher) and students Katie Sumner and Reilly Deforge
c. K-5 Health Program – Kristen Cerce, Michele Kingsland Smith
d. Budget Update - Kindergarten

3. Discussion Only Items
Community Engagement
Policy – First Reading - BEDA: Notification of School Committee Meetings

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $600.00 from the ECDC PCC for supplies.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from the Davis Thayer PCC for Library books.
c. I recommend acceptance of two checks ($200 & $50) for the Jacqueline Schaeffer Theatre Arts Memorial Scholarship at FHS.
d. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS Music Dept. to take the Jazz band and workshop to New Hampshire for the UNH Clark Terry Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2011 as detailed.
e. I recommend acceptance of the anonymous gift of used books for the Oak Street Elementary School.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from the Insurance Store for Keller Elementary School in-house enrichment.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from an ECDC parent for supplies.

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

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

7.Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Franklin, MA

School Enrollment Projections

In the School Committee packet for the Tues Jan 11 meeting is the following report on enrollment projections for the Franklin Public Schools.

According to this report, we have seen the peak enrollment, the numbers will be declining from here for the foreseeable future.


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

Franklin, MA

Friday, January 7, 2011

Community Health Council hears from the KP BeSmart Wellness Coalition

The Community Health Council met on Thursday night. Much of the evening was a discussion with the BeSmart Wellness Coalition from King Philip Regional HS.

What is the BeSmart Wellness Coalition?
It is a group of student leaders formed to leverage existing programs and provide a focus on wellness activities for teens and parents in the KP community. In hind sight, they did their organization backwards. They would coordinate more with the School District and faculty to bring this around. They feel the district and teachers was somewhat threatened by the organization and aggressive desires of the group. Contentious teacher contract negotiations were going on during the group’s formation and that did not help the situation.

This did not stop the group from holding events such as:
Sheet draping for Junior Prom 2009 – based upon a stat that every third car had a serious or fatal accident, the group obtained a donation of sheets. Every third car was draped while the students were in the Prom so the visual was impact-full when the students left the event. There was communication and notifications prior to the event so it was not a complete surprise and worked out to be quite effective.
A big hit was the development of an intramural program. This was held after school, using school facilities, and started with volleyball. All parent volunteers were used to coordinate. The program lasted one and half hours each evening. It was just enough time, 6:30 – 8:00. The time slot right after school was not as successful, the later time worked better for attendance. They are working on developing a dodge ball intramural league for this year.
They did plan activities for school half days. In particular, the middle school students loved the monster mini-golf. A future event is being planned for the dinner theater in North Attleboro.
The Distracted Driving Campaign was a great success. They are looking to re-do this year as well. There were daily posters and notifications leading up to the event. They collaborated with the high school video production students and the DECA program. Competing for the grand prize, sign the pledge, etc. There was a tangible marketing production. The video production group got to go to the local production of Oprah in Boston.

All the events were student lead, student driven from conception through execution. They recommend having food involved for the student activities, it helps to make the event attractive and successful. The group grew from 20 (last year) to 60 (this year). Their meetings are currently held in the KP cafeteria which is not a great location as it is not a very quiet and private space to help build the relationships amongst the group. They also split into subcommittees to focus planning on each of their initiatives. They want to get a better meeting space and bring the group together after the subcommittee working sessions to help foster the relationships as a group.

For the group as an organization, the students developed a policy and an application with questions and an interview process to apply for membership. The students pledge to not drink, etc. This group coordinates with the Students Against Drunk Drinking (SADD) which is focused on drinking. The BeSmart group has a much broader health wellness focus.

They are proposing a joint event to be coordinated with Franklin High School featuring Cara Filler ( It would be possible to hold during day events at each school (FHS and KP) and then do a joint event for the parents in the evening.

Additional updates

Deb Sweeney, representing Arbour Counseling, discussed possible coordination with the Council.

For example – if a group was identified via the MetroWest survey with a particular problem, then a support group could get formed to meet that need. Groups are more powerful than one-on-one sessions due to peer-to-peer interaction. They are looking to link the services with the needs of the community. They do handle a lot of individual referrals but think there may be an opportunity for more group work. They are looking to find out if there are service needs that are not being met. In most cases, funding for their counseling can be done through the individuals health insurance coverage. They left the group with a question: How can we capitalize on the audience of another event to provide some counseling awareness or services?

Lauren Marciszyn, from the YMCA, put a plug in for the planning meeting on Jan 11th .

Lisa Keohane provided a quick update that 240 folks attended the Perry Aftab event in December. It was video taped and will be posted to the cable channel sometime TBD. The teenangels program is now 78 students. It is the only one in New England. They are continuing to work on cyber bullying. Four students have moved from the middle school to be freshman at FHS this year. Kristin Cerce is working to help get them and their teenangel experience integrated into the high school.

Lisa also provided a book recommendation “Please stop laughing at me” by Jodee Blanco. ( While their program to date has been using the Wired program materials, they are also looking to integrate other materials appropriately.

Action Item
As the meeting closed, there was a proposal raised to add a meeting to the calendar for Feb 3rd. Email Michelle Kingsland-Smith if unable to make this date.

Additional information about the Council can be found here

Franklin, MA


Proposed Agenda for Jan 11, 2011
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order
A. Ask for volunteer to keep minutes of meeting
B. Introduction of new attendees
We encourage new attendees to join a committee ASAP
C. Review & approve minutes of previous meeting

II. Nomination of Officers for 2011
Committee Chair – Nominations - -
Co-Chair – Nominations - -
Treasurer – Nominations - -
Secretary (Please Anyone) – Nominations - -

III. Vote on Election of Officers for 2011
Committee Chair –
Co-Chair –
Treasurer –
Secretary (Please Anyone) –

Note: To all meeting attendees, please remember that the rules that we set up for paying membership fees were that it bought you one vote on important Committee issues. Consequently, only paying members will be allowed to vote. Whether a paid member or not, we appreciate your contribution and attendance at our meetings.

IV. Report from our representative from DCR
Need for signage disallowing motorized vehicles on trail
Volunteer Eamon Earls is researching history of railroad
Contact made at WPI and with Tetra Tech Rizzo for Design
Can we meet on Thursday nights?

IV. Membership Committee Report
Committee to report on membership activity

V. Report from Finance Committee
Report from Treasurer

VI. Report of Fund Raising Committee
Report on fund raising activities
Report Road Race Committee
Promoting the Road Race – Fundraising Activity

VII. Report from Grant Writing Committee
A. National Public Lands Day web site is announcing Grant Opportunities – Can we apply?

IX. Unfinished Business:
Business plan in the making
Distribute revised brochures and support locations with displays

X. New Business:

XI. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We need to talk, with respectful voices

... there are some very serious long-term economic trends that are absolutely ripping apart the U.S. middle class. For example, did you know that even though our population has been growing at a brisk pace we have lost about ten percent of our middle class jobs over the past decade? The vast majority of jobs that have been created have been low paying service jobs.
We now have hordes of highly educated young people that are waiting tables and that are welcoming customers to Wal-Mart. Without good paying jobs there is no middle class, but today American corporations are actually creating more jobs overseas than they are inside the United States. This has helped pad the profits of the big corporate fatcats, but it has been devastating for middle class communities across the United States.
Sounds of doom and gloom resonate through this piece. I do think it is important to look at the big picture. I do think there are structural changes underway in our economy that will become real obvious AFTER they have fully taken effect. We'll look back and say, "Wow, so that is what was happening!"
Times are hard and they are going to get harder, but that doesn't mean that you can't thrive in the middle of all this. Hopefully we can all take this as a wake up call. We all need to work harder, become less wasteful, become more independent and stop living as if the good times are going to last forever.
We can rant and rave against the facts. WE CAN RAISE OUR VOICES AGAINST EACH OTHER! Or we can talk, calmly and thoughtfully about what is happening.

This is where our choice really will make a positive change for the good. Let's recognize that we are in this together. Let's recognize that we can work together to make sense of this. Let's recognize that perhaps you do have a good idea. Perhaps there is a better way through collaboration, cooperation, coordination and civil discussion!

What do you think are our chances are?

You can continue reading the full article here

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Live reporting - Long Range Financial Planning Committee

Present: Doug Hardesty, Deb Bartlett, Orrin Bean, John Hogan, Ken Harvey, Craig DiMarzio, Graydon Smith, Tina Powderly (ex officio), Jeff Nutting (ex officio)
Absent: none

meeting opened after the committee was sworn in by Town Clerk Deb Pellegri

the group made a round of introductions

draft charter presented for discussion and revision, 'strawman'

focus on the facts and details of the financial issues

when decisions are made that will affect a multi-year outlook, the committee should be able to weigh in on those in a timely manner; would not be focusing on the day-to-day operational items, the Town Council has the oversight of the Administrator, who in turn directs the activities of the town departments.

what are the cost drivers?
They vary. Collective bargaining is a challenge. to adjust the co-pay requires talking with each of the 13 unions. The State also has a myriad of rules and regulations around purchasing, bottom line it doesn't always guarantee the best price.

Most of the expense side is statutorily driven. We do need a clerk, a health inspector, etc. However, this is no law that says we have to have a police and fire department.

We are paying for the inefficiencies of a long term parochial system which is very, very difficult to change at the local level.

"We know what we want to do it if we could do it" The more attention that is brought to it, the better chance we'll have of actually getting something done.

Charter is not finalized as we wanted to get time for people to think about it and have an opportunity to suggest changes before the Town Council does finalize it.

"come up with a document to tell the story to the town in a way that is credible"

group assignments to draw on individual preferences and strengths

review of the final report of the prior committee from last year (PDF)

review of the Chap 70 story, growth from $4M to $28M over about 15 years
due to census data from 1990's on community wealth and the rapid growth of the school population from 3,000 to 6,000

There are things that are not in the school budget that the Town provides; facilities being the major one, debt service is another.

Charter school - how is that funded? The State sends a portion of our Chap 70 directly to the Charter School. The funding formula has been debated forever.

The Governor's budget due is Jan 26th followed in the next several weeks by the House and the Senate versions with an overall conference committee agreement before getting finalized by July 1

discussion on timeline for deliverables, a brief update (similar to the mid-year report) in an April time frame with updates to sections as needed. Look at when the data will be available and include that in the timelines (i.e. the tax rates are set in Dec so would be available from the State after that).

"It is great in telling what we paid for it, can you tell me what I actually got for it?" Can we benchmark ourselves on what we are achieving?

What new analysis do we want to do and add to this document?

Next meeting Jan 26th

Franklin, MA

MassBudget Briefs: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget, Chapter 70 Previews

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  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
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Two new briefs: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview and Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview

January 4, 2011

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is releasing two new budget briefs previewing the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

MassBudget Brief: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview examines the condition of state finances as the budget process begins for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2011. Walking readers through the steps involved in calculating a state budget gap, the brief projects a $1.78 billion preliminary budget gap facing the Commonwealth in FY 2012.

MassBudget Brief: Fiscal Year 2012 Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview outlines three scenarios for calculating Chapter 70 education funding for FY 2012, each based on a different set of assumptions.

The briefs, Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview and Fiscal Year 2012 Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview, are available at
- - - - -
See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present.

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.
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Downtown Partnership - Meeting Info

Public Meeting

Monday, January 10 at 7 pm

Dean College's Alden Center (S11)

located in the Arthur W. Pierce Center for Science and Technology

The public is invited to provide feedback to the PWED grant-funded portion of the Downtown Franklin Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project. 

Networking Luncheon

Friday, January 14 at 1:00 pm

Dean College Campus Center Cafeteria

Cost:  $5

Please note:  We will be meeting in the new cafeteria, NOT the Golder Room.

For more details please email Joel Carrara at

General Meeting

Thursday, January 20 at 8:30 am

Dean College Campus Center, Golder Room, 2nd Floor

We welcome all new members!

We encourage downtown business owners to attend!

Networking Luncheon

Friday, February 11 at 1:00 pm

Dean College Campus Center Cafeteria

Cost:  $5

For more details contact Joel Carrara at

"it doesn't fit the script"

Here is one listing that I am glad MA did not make. The list also helps to put our budget crisis into perspective. As bad as it is, there are others far worse.
But there's one state, which is fairly high up on the list of troubled states that nobody is talking about, and there's a reason for it.
The state is Texas.
This month the state's part-time legislature goes back into session, and the state is starting at potentially a $25 billion deficit on a two-year budget of around $95 billion. That's enormous. And there's not much fat to cut. The whole budget is basically education and healthcare spending. Cutting everything else wouldn't do the trick. And though raising this kind of money would be easy on an economy of $1.2 trillion, the new GOP mega-majority in Congress is firmly against raising any revenue.
You can read the full post here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tree Pickup - Alternatives

Thanks to Paula Lombardi, Office Manager for the DPW, for providing the following info:

  • If you have missed your day of pick up this week maybe you can contact a friend or relative in Franklin who may have a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday pickup and ask if you can put the tree at their curbside.
  • The Beaver Street Recycle Center is open Friday and Saturday throughout the year from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • All trees must be free of ornaments and tinsel. Do not place in a plastic bag.

Food security: waste not, want not

A good friend of mine pointed this movie out to me over the holidays. Hunger and food security are big issues world wide. The Franklin Food Pantry is working to provide food for those who need it amongst us.

I hope that this doesn't spoil your appetite.

I do hope that you'll consider portions when eating.

To learn more about food security, consider reading from these sources:

Franklin, MA

Christmas trees will be picked up on your trash day this week

I went digging for my copy of the Curbside Chronicle to find out the Christmas Tree pick up schedule. Good thing I did. The trees will be picked up on the day of your regular trash schedule this week. Yes, this week from Jan 3 - Jan 7.

Last year, the tree pickup was scheduled for Saturday of this week. I guess I will be taking down the tree tonight to make our Wednesday trash schedule day.


Franklin, MA

In the News - back taxes, quiet car, tight budgets

Franklin to go after back taxes


Riders like new quiet train car

Tight budgets seen for this year

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 3, 2011

"I think it's good to have fresh eyes look"

Areas to be discussed include Emmons Street between Main Street and Hillside Road, Dean Avenue between Main and Ray streets, Ray Street, Depot Street and the town's Depot Street parking lot.
Town officials hope the work, which will be paid for through a $1 million state public works grant, will fix deteriorated roads and sidewalks, improve drainage and stormwater systems and stimulate private investment downtown, Taberner said.
"This is a section we wouldn't have been able to afford if we didn't get that (grant)," Taberner said.
The construction is part of a $7.25 million downtown revitalization project to eliminate one-way traffic, install decorative streetlights, improve sidewalks and curbs and resurface streets. Work on main streets will be covered by a $5 million federal grant, which will be matched by about $1.25 million in state and local funds.

Public urged to talk on plans for Franklin streets


Related posts:

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fiscal year 2012 - budget information

This page collects all the writing and information on the FY 2012 budget

Long Range Financial Planning Committee meetings

School Budget Workshop
Preliminary School Budget document
Handout for the Workshop
Workshop notes - part 1
Workshop notes - part 2

School Space needs report

Kindergarten: full vs. half-day
My analysis from 2010 can be found here

School budget hearing (held 2/15/11)

Center for American Progress report touts Franklin as a high performing district

Mass Budget's analysis of the Gov Budget (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick's full budget for FY 2012 (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick's local aid and Chap 70 (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick proposes local aid cuts (1/21/11)

Chapter 70 info from MASSBudget (1/5/11)

Capital expenditures from 'free cash' FY 2010 (12/8/10)

Jeff Nutting's outlook from November 2010 (11/03/10)

Town Budget workshop from Jan 2010
This three hour meeting was recorded and the documents used are all available here
The numbers will change for this year but the story behind the numbers won't differ much.

Citizens against waste - question collection

Franklin, MA

"the national economic crisis has caused real pain"

Reconfirming a strong link between education and economic success, the report notes that Bay State hourly wages and household incomes leapt from near the national average 30 years ago to among the top in the nation today.
Yet those with less education are struggling to find jobs at higher rates than past downturns. People with only high school degrees are unemployed at nearly twice the rate of those with a bachelor's degrees or higher, the report says.
While the report points to Massachusetts' strengths, it also highlights the need for better training for less educated workers to gain middle-level skills, said Robert Tannenwald, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.
Such skills are important to the state's economy in growing sectors such as niche manufacturing and the medical technician field, he said.
"The high school diploma doesn't cut it anymore, but you don't quite need the college degree either," said Tannenwald, whose organization is affiliated with the report's authors. "You need specialized skill."
You can read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

You can read the full report at its source here

Franklin, MA

In the News - senior tax abatements

For seniors, town jobs can reduce property tax bills


While not specifically referenced in this article, Franklin is one of the communities that offers this. In fact, early in 2010, the Town Council increased the amounts available for seniors to take advantage of.

The first discussion was February 10 when Tina Powderly provided the update on the Senior Outreach initiatives.

On March 3, the Town Council voted unanimously to accept the four proposals (Zollo absent):

Franklin, MA