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

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Preliminary Analysis: The Governor's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

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budget database
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Donate to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

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  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
  Communications Director
  (617) 426-1228 x100

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.

Things you can do from here:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vera Meyer - Glass Harmonica

The Franklin Historical Museum celebrated Benjamin Franklin's birthday with a musical performance by Vera Meyer on the glass harmonica (invented by Ben in 1761. I'll have a more complete write up on the afternoon during the week. In the meantime, these photos capture the fun of the afternoon.

It was a delight, I hope you enjoy!

Franklin, MA

Quality, Cost, and Purpose: Comparisons of Government and Private Sector Payments for Similar Services

Explore our online
budget database
Budget Browser

Is our research helpful to you? Support our work
Donate to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

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Forward to a Friend

Contact Info

  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
  Communications Director
  (617) 426-1228 x100

Quality, Cost, and Purpose: Comparisons of Government and Private Sector Payments for Similar Services

January 23, 2011

A new MassBudget report, Quality, Cost, and Purpose: Comparisons of Government and Private Sector Payments for Similar Services, looks at what our state government pays for early education and care, health care, and education, and compares those costs to what is paid for those services in the private sector.   

In providing child care (which Massachusetts calls ''early education and care'' in recognition of the importance of quality early care in the educational development of children) for lower-income working parents, the state purchases care from providers who also provide care to private clients. The rates that the state pays these providers range from 66 percent to 96 percent of the median market rate in different regions of the state.  

Our state Medicaid and Commonwealth Care health insurance programs buy health care in the same market as private payers, but pay on average only 80 percent of the rates paid by private payers.

Finally, this paper finds that the average cost of public schools, $13,142 per student, is dramatically below the cost of non-religious private schools, which average $32,084 per student -- and generally educate children from less challenging backgrounds.

The report, Quality, Cost, and Purpose: Comparisons of Government and Private Sector Payments for Similar Services, is available at or by clicking here.  
- - - - -

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.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity"

... people with mental disabilities haven't always had access to such organizations. Those with developmental challenges used to be sequestered to state institutions, or their families had to absorb the stress of caring for them, with parents often divorcing because there was no support network to help, said Michael E. Moloney, Horace Mann's president and CEO.
"We've moved to not only tolerance and acceptance but appreciation of diversity," he said. "People are not hidden away any more. ... In general, people with a disability bring as much to our lives as we do to theirs."
Moloney, a North Attleboro resident, came to Horace Mann 17 years ago after a state job with people who had mental disabilities. He returned briefly to the public sector but has spent much of the past two decades at Horace Mann.
"This has been a phenomenal career field for me," he said. "I've seen what amounted to a social justice movement."
Initially known as the Wrentham Research Foundation, Horace Mann was based on the grounds of the Wrentham Developmental Center, where its primary mission was to conduct research about mental retardation. In 1982, the agency moved to Franklin and was renamed Horace Mann Educational Associates after Horace Mann, an educator who was born in Franklin.
The quote in the title comes from the article and is credited to Franklin's 'Father of Pubilc Education' - Horace Mann.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

The 10th Annual Independence Walk/Run will be held on May 22 centered on the EMC facilities in the Forge Park Industrial Park (behind the Franklin Fire Station #2 on King St). More information on the event can be found here. The road race is 5K and I'll be volunteering at the registration desk for the race.

Franklin, MA

Survey on priorities - remains open until 1/29/11

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. So far there has been only one entry on this survey to develop a listing of priority services that Franklin offers. Come on folks, you can do better than that!

In the January issue of the new Franklin newspaper delivered to your mail box, I wrote about setting priorities for the services that Franklin provides. This survey intends to develop a list of services that you would consider discontinuing and of services that you think we should continue.

The survey will remain open for your input through Saturday, Jan 29th.
The results of the survey will be published Sunday, Jan 30, 2011.

Note: use the scroll bar in form to get to the second question and "Submit".
You can provide an answer for both questions or chose to answer only one question.
For this kind of 'list building' exercise, there is no limit on entries. The survey results will provide two lists for further discussion.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 1/25/11

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 January 11, 2011 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives

2. Guests/Presentations

a. Educational Support Professionals Contract Signing
b. Best Buddies – Sue & Art Streeter and Mark Berthiaume
c. Honoring FHS Coaches – Brad Sidwell
d. Space Needs Report – Space Needs Sub Committee

3. Discussion Only Items

2011-2012 School Calendar
2012-2013 School Calendar

Policy – Second Reading
1. BEDA - Notification of School Committee Meetings

4. Action Items

a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for Annie Sullivan Middle School in-house enrichment and supplies.
b. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip to Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI on May 6, 2011 for Keller fifth graders as detailed.
c. I recommend acceptance of the annual donation of check for $50.00 from Lueder’s Environmental, Inc. for the FHS for field trips.
d. I recommend adoption of the 2011-2012 School Calendar as detailed.
e. I recommend adoption of the 2012-2013 School Calendar as detailed.
f. I recommend adoption of the School Committee Policy BEDA – notification of School Committee Meetings.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from the JFK PCC for field trips.
h. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
i. I recommend approval of the Educational Support Professionals Contract as detailed.

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 Committee: Space Needs Subcommittee Report


January 25, 2011

Sub-Committee Members: Roberta Trahan (Chair), Cindy Douglas, Paula Mullen; Sally Winslow, Assistant Superintendent


The Space Needs Sub-Committee (SNSC) at the August 10, 2010 School Committee meeting requested further direction from the full School Committee relative to its charge.

In consideration of the budget reductions that the district has experienced for the past several years, cognizant of the need to provide equity among students throughout the district, the SNSC was asked to review the following questions:

- Have population shifts and budget reductions resulted in an imbalance in the classrooms of our schools throughout the district?

- Is there enough of an imbalance so that we need to redistrict some or all of our students?

- Is the answer to this question dependent upon the School Committee decision on whether to adopt half-day Kindergarten as opposed to the full-day program currently offered?

- In reviewing these questions, please quantify the imbalance and report on all available options to the School Committee by November 1, 2010.

Question #1: Have population shifts and budget reductions resulted in an imbalance
in the classrooms of our schools throughout the district?

Both populations and enrollment numbers demonstrate slight decreases. Data comparing enrollment totals of 10/30/09 to those of 10/30/10 show a decrease of 31 students at the elementary level, a decrease of 48 at the middle school level and an increase of 23 students at the high school level. While enrollment at Francis X. O’Regan Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) has increased by 23 students and enrollment at Davis Thayer has increased by 25 students since last year at this time, enrollment figures at the other five elementary schools have decreased. The total decrease in enrollment figures between 2009-10 and 2010-11 is 56 students. (See enrollment comparison 10-30-09 to 10-29-10).

Class sizes at the elementary level range from as low as seventeen (17) students in a class to as high as twenty-seven (27). Discrepancies are noted within certain schools and within specific grade levels. Grant funds from the Job Bills Act brought temporary relief for the current school year by allowing the district to hire five additional classroom teachers at specific schools (Parmenter grades 5 and 3; Kennedy grade 3; Davis Thayer grades 3 and 4) thereby reducing class sizes in those grades. Given the precarious nature of the economy as well as the budget forecast for the FY 2012 school year, those positions will likely be eliminated, causing class sizes to revert back to their original numbers. According to the data, the current, average class size at the elementary level is 24; at the middle school 26; and at the high school 27.

At this time, there are minor imbalances in the numbers at each school which have developed because of teacher reductions, program reductions, and increased class sizes at specific grade levels. This has contributed to the number of classrooms that are now not in full use on a daily basis, thus resulting in some empty spaces. We will first review the use and condition of modular classrooms at the elementary schools and then discuss current use of classroom space.


In reviewing options for available space at the various schools, the SNSC felt it was important to first review both the use and life span of the modular classrooms at Davis Thayer, Jefferson, John F. Kennedy and Gerald M. Parmenter Schools and address the questions, “If we remove the modulars, what will the impact be? Will we have enough space to service the students currently enrolled? Can we absorb them into their current buildings or another school within the district?” It should be noted that there is one remaining modular at FHS still in use which will be addressed with the high school renovation project.

Davis Thayer School
Although visually not the most appealing from the outside, the modular classrooms at Davis Thayer are probably in the best condition of all. There are four modulars which house three fifth grade classes and one kindergarten class. An estimated that 91 students are housed in the modulars at Davis Thayer School who would be impacted if these were removed. It is important to note that the Davis Thayer School modulars were declared surplus in 2008 not due to the condition, but due to aesthetics and the ability to house additional students within the building.

Jefferson School
None of the four modulars at Jefferson School are designated as full-time, grade level classrooms. One room is used to service English Language Learners (ELL students); the second is a shared as a special education resource room and speech/vision services therapy space; the other two modulars are utilized by Solutions—one as a classroom space and the second as an office space. Similar to Parmenter, the condition of the modulars at Jefferson School continue to deteriorate. However, because these portables do not house grade level classrooms, the impact of removing these modulars would not be significant in terms of student displacement.

John F. Kennedy School
Housing approximately 45 students, John F. Kennedy School has four modular classrooms that are in moderate condition. One modular is used for a second grade classroom and one is used for a fifth grade classroom. The other two modulars are used for music and ELL. The carpets in all four classrooms need replacement.

Gerald M Parmenter School
There are six modular classrooms at the Gerald M Parmenter School. Four of the modulars are used as full-time classrooms—three fourth grade classrooms and one fifth grade classroom. Four of the six modulars are leased. Solutions uses one of the modulars for before and after school programming, and this room is used for special education testing and small group instruction during the school day. The last modular is used to provide occupational therapy and physical therapy (OT/PT) services to students with special needs. The modulars at Parmenter are probably in the worst condition of any of the modulars in the district and would likely need to be the first taken down. If we were to remove the portable classrooms at Parmenter School, we estimate that this would impact approximately 85 students.


Due to the budget cuts in recent years, the number of classrooms in use has diminished. Principals continue to use classroom space within the buildings for meetings, English Language Learner (ELL) instruction, small group instruction, office space, and additional sub-separate instruction. It is not the intent of the SNSC to show that all the classroom space not in use as traditional classroom space is surplus. It is the goal of the report to illustrate how space is currently being used and to determine where students now housed in modulars can be absorbed back into the original buildings.

Elementary Space

Davis Thayer School
Having served the town as a school since 1924, several modifications have been made to Davis Thayer School. Currently there are several small rooms on the second and third floor that could be combined easily by removing dividing non-structural walls. On the third floor there are two small rooms that could be made into a full-size classroom. There are two full size rooms not in use during the day that could be reclaimed as classroom space; one on the first floor used by Solutions and an empty room on the second floor. Given the space within the building, the 91 students in the modulars could be re-absorbed into the rooms of the main building.

A caveat to reorganizing space at Davis Thayer School - Based on the School Committee’s decision to keep Davis Thayer School open, the town may invest money into the school by adding an elevator and other minor upgrades to the building. The addition of the elevator may compromise available space. Since the condition of the modulars at Davis Thayer is still quite good as noted earlier in this document, it may make most sense to leave these modulars in place until a decision about renovation is reached.

Helen Keller School
Four to Five rooms are available within Keller Elementary. There are two Solutions rooms that are used only for before and after school activities. In addition there is also a health and SPED room that could be converted to extra classroom space if needed. Helen Keller also has one room dedicated to the BICO program. As the town receives revenue from this space, it is the recommendation of the SNSC to continue to lease this space to BICO.

Jefferson School
One of the newer buildings in the district, Jefferson has three rooms that are not being used as fulltime classroom space. Since none of the modulars are used as classrooms, there is no need to relocate students if the modulars are removed.

John F. Kennedy School
As has been the case for several years, there is no extra space at the crowded John F. Kennedy School. Along with holding classes in the modulars, the Music room is also housed there. In addition to finding space to house current modular students, consideration should also be given to providing room within the building for a dedicated music room and a proper space for OT/PT which is currently taking place in a storage/book room. This will allow for parity among all the buildings.

Oak Street School
The newest school in the district, Oak Street School has the most available space. Currently there are twelve classrooms being used for other purposes. There is a Solutions room that is used only before and after school, two EA rooms, a health and a speech room that can be repurposed for general classroom space. Additionally there is a bookroom, Teacher’s work room, ELL room, two SPED rooms and two SPED subseparate rooms.

Gerald M. Parmenter School
Two classrooms at the Gerald M. Parmenter School are in use as self-contained SPED classrooms, another as a SPED resource room. There is also one classroom used for small group SPED instruction, one for a speech/SPED office, and one as a Title I reading room. If some of these programs can be relocated to other schools, this would free space up within Parmenter to move students currently housed in the modulars. As noted earlier three teachers were added to Parmenter this year, given that they were hired with onetime funds, those positions most likely will not be funded next year. This will also free up some space within the building. Considering that Parmenter has the leased modulars and those in the poorest condition, it is recommended that these modulars be removed first.

Francis X. O’Regan Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC)
Two classrooms are available at the ECDC; one used by Life Long Learning for scheduled Mommy and Me programs during the day and one room not in use at all.

Middle School Space

Remington Middle School
At Remington Middle School there are six former classrooms now used for other purposes such as SPED rooms, meeting room, and an office for the reading specialist.

Annie Sullivan Middle School
Seven classrooms within Annie Sullivan Middle School are now being used for other functions, six are used for SPED services and one is used for counseling services.

Horace Mann Middle School
While the ECDC and Oak Street sections of this building have significant space, there are only two available classroom spaces within the Horace Mann area of the complex; one health room and the math specialist classroom. Further, the district-wide middle school sub-separate program is housed in the Oak Street section of the building.

High School Space

Franklin High School
The Franklin High School space needs were not assessed nor included in this report given the building renovation project currently in the initial planning stages. It is noteworthy that during the 2010-11 school years, space at Franklin High School has been given to the Alternative Learning Program, which moved back to FHS from Emmons Street, as well as the Fine Arts Academy which is a new program instituted in the 2010-11 school year. The space for the FAA was made possible with the facilities department moving out of Franklin High School and onto Hayward Street.

Question #2: Is there enough of an imbalance so that we need to redistrict some or all
of our students?

After reviewing the number of classrooms not in use in the traditional sense and considering the impact of the removal of modulars over the next few years, it has been determined that:

1. With the exception of the John F. Kennedy School, students currently being educated in the modulars can be moved back into space within their own buildings.

2. Additional room has to be made available at John F Kennedy School for dedicated
music room and OT/PT space.

3. Since the modulars at the Kennedy School are still functional, they should stay in place
for the next year or two while the Administrative team determines the best way to address
this imbalance.

4. Since there is considerable space at the ECDC and Oak Street School and because Kennedy students move on to Horace Mann Middle School, there may be opportunities to make minor shifts to the Kennedy population with minimal impact.

Question #3: Is the answer to this question dependent upon the School Committee’s decision on whether to adopt half-day kindergarten as opposed to the current full-day program currently offered?

At the January 11, 2011 School Committee Meeting, it was made clear that it was not cost effective to move to a half-day kindergarten model at this time. If at some point this decision is reconsidered, the number of kindergarten classrooms would be reduced. However, space would still need to be provided for optional half-day programs.


1. Keep all schools operational - The SNSC recommends keeping all schools open. With the removal of modular classrooms, the district will need to place 221 students into our existing schools/classrooms. Further if the finances improve, it would be the goal to revert to smaller class sizes and restore programs.

2. Modular Removal - After consultation with Town Administrator, Jeff Nutting, the funds for removal should be available from the Municipal budget, removing modulars one school per summer for the next several years. The SNSC recommends the following schedule for removal:

A. Gerald M. Parmenter School: Summer 2011- These modulars are in the poorest condition. Four of the six modulars are leased, costing the town money, and if some programs are moved, there is room within the actual building to accommodate the existing students

B. Jefferson School: Summer 2012 - These modulars are also in poor condition and there will be no impact on the student body.

C. John F. Kennedy School: Summer 2013 - There is no excess space within this building. By waiting a few years to remove these modulars, it gives the administration time to adequately plan and communicate where students should be relocated.

D. Davis Thayer School: Summer 2014 - The removal of the modulars should coincide with any renovations. In conjunction with this renovation, the smaller classrooms should be looked at with a possible plan to combine them. This would provide Davis Thayer School with larger classrooms more consistent with the other elementary schools in the district.

3. Minor redistricting – The SNSC recommends development of a mini-redistricting plan. This will involve moving some students/neighborhoods to reconcile numbers. This may be an opportunity to draw more stable lines in some areas of the district which now have students on one side of the street at a different school than their neighbors. Below are some possibilities:

A. Move John F. Kennedy students to Oak Street/ECDC/ Horace Mann complex where there is potential classroom space
B. Consider making some minor tweaks in some areas bordering the Keller-Oak districts and the Davis Thayer-Oak districts, which have been problematic over the years.


Clearly budget challenges over the past several years have impacted the way students have been educated. With a reduction in the teaching force, Franklin has seen class sizes increase and the need for classroom space decrease. At one point the eighteen modulars at the elementary schools were full and it was assumed that in order to accommodate all those students, the district would need to build a new elementary school or a permanent addition to one of the school. As noted in this report, currently not all the modulars are being used as fulltime classrooms and there is available classroom space at all the middle schools and within all but one of the elementary schools.

Due to the reduction of staff, many classrooms have been repurposed to offer small group instruction and many classrooms have been set aside for the Solutions program. This has provided some relief from crowded classrooms. In addition more classroom space is now being used for small group SPED instruction, SPED sub-separate programming and OT/PT services. Over the last few years new requirements have arisen necessitating dedicated space for specific programs. The DESE now requires a separate learning area for ELL (English Language Learners) students. ELL education can take place in a room shared with another specialist, but time has to be scheduled when no other instruction is taking place. Reader’s Workshop, part of the district’s Balanced Literacy initiative, also requires a dedicated book room and is an important component which supports this initiative. A book room is an instructional resource for teachers where teachers can borrow an individual book or sets of books that are leveled and organized for individual
student reading levels.

Although, this report indicates that potential space exists within the district, each building still needs room to house the special programming detailed above. With a plan to renovate FHS, remove modulars over the several years, and a review of district lines, specifically in the Kennedy area, the space needs of the district should be addressed for the next few years.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on this project. We look forward to full discussion/questions at our January 25, 2011 meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Roberta Trahan, Chair SNSC
Cindy Douglas
Paula Mullen
Sally Winslow

Franklin, MA