Saturday, December 17, 2011

High School Project: Floor Plans

The floor plan and space summary comparing the existing Franklin High School to the new model school proposal as prepared by Ai3 Architects.

Proposed FHS Project: Space Summary

You can also find this document on the Franklin website here: (PDF)

“It’s a fabulous program"

“I don’t do visual arts,” Franklin Arts Academy student Carissa Provuncher, 17, said of her concentration. “I do singing. You’re expanding your art, what you’re able to do. Even if you’re not that good at it, it’s still fun.” 
The academy is part of Franklin High School and functions as a school within a school. Students take a yearlong arts class, several academic courses that integrate art into the curriculum and electives outside the academy. 
“There’s really a great energy here,” said Nimmer, who has been holding similar workshops for years in colleges and high schools internationally. “You don’t always get that.” 
His workshop is based on his book “Art from Intuition.”

Read more:

Personal income tax rate resumes march downward

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 12/16/11

Bliss for Blog IMG_9679_resized
Posted by:
Robert Bliss, Director of Communication, Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue yesterday certified that the personal income tax rate will drop from 5.30 percent to 5.25 percent effective January 1, 2012. The savings to taxpayers will vary, but for most taxpayers it will be less than $40 and as little as $5 or $10 for those with smaller taxable incomes.

Despite the relatively small magnitude of the reduction, there is a lot of fiscal and politcal history behind it. The 0.05 percent decrease will mark the first decrease in the income tax rate in 10 years, and is the result of a legal process laid out in legislation approved in 2002.

That year, in the wake of both the dot com crash and the post-9/11 economic downturn, tax revenues in the Commonwealth fell and legislators scrambled to fill the gap. The House proposed to freeze the rate at 5.3 percent; it had been scheduled to drop to 5.0 percent effective Jan. 1, 2003, as a result of a voter referendum that had lowered the rate from 5.95 percent to 5.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2001 and to 5.3 percent on Jan. 1, 2002.

The Legislature wound up approving the freeze as well as a reduction in the value of personal exemptions for both single individuals and couples; the exemption dropped from $4,400 to $3,300 for individuals, and from $8,800 to $6,600 for couples.

In order to marshall legislative support for these tax increases, and to keep faith with voters who had approved the rate reduction to 5 percent, the legislature also created the process by which the personal exemptions would be restored to full value in four annual steps after which the income tax rate itself could resume its downward march.

The process involved a series of triggers and certifications. The first trigger; inflation adjusted baseline revenue growth had to exceed that of the previous fiscal year by 2.5 percent. But before final certification, revenues had to continue to remain steady, adjusted for inflation, over the months of September-November. If inflation adjusted revenue growth was not negative compared to the previous year in those months, the final certification for a rate reduction (or restoration of the personal exemption) would be issued no later than December 15.

That process was followed in the years subsequent to 2002, and the full value of the personal exemptions was restored in 2008 after four years of revenue growth.

But then the next and bigger revenue crash occurred in FY09, a year in which revenues fell more than $2.5 billion, removing the possibility of lowering the tax rate in accordance with the law.

It was not until FY11, which saw inflation adjusted revenue growth of 7.2 percent over FY10, followed by the required monthly certifications in the fall, that all requirements were met for the rate reduction that was announced yesterday.

Things you can do from here:

In the News - Nutcracker, Humbug

PEDC to present ‘Nutcracker,' Dec. 17 and 18

FPAC presents Humbug! Dec. 17 and 18

Friday, December 16, 2011

High School Project - Updated pictures and November's monthly report

The news of the total cost of the high school project is now public. $104.5 million of which Franklin taxpayers would be responsible for $47 million. Assuming the MSBA approves the proposal and Franklin voters pass the debt exclusion to authorize the increase in taxes to pay for our share.

Updated photos depicting the architectural design of the model school for Franklin High School:

2011 11 FHS Monthly Report

Thanks to the Building Committee for sharing this information!

The informational forum held by the Building Committee on Nov 17th was recorded and is available for your listening pleasure here

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

Kennedy Elementary 4th Grades help the Franklin Food Pantry

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Franklin Food Pantry, I want to send a great big" thank you" to the Kennedy 4th Graders! Your effort will help us feed our Franklin neighbors.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Shiny Red Apple by Mrs. Williams-the big "A"pple on 12/15/11

Thanks to everyone who participated in the food drive for the Franklin FoodPantry. As a grade we collected 480 pounds of food and supplies, and a check for $20.00 which will provide 100 meals! Great job 4th graders


Things you can do from here:

In the News - Charles River Trail

For the bicyclists who may use the Upper Charles River Trail in Milford, there is a section closed due to some contamination cleanup. The section will be closed through January, 2012.

Contamination cleanup to close Charles River Trail in Milford

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"The cost to the town is expected to be $47 million"

The School Building Committee has come up with a pricetag for the proposed new high school: $104.5 million. 
The committee submitted one of its final drafts of the school plan to the Massachusetts School Building Authority more than a week ago, and the authority is expected to accept or deny the plans by Jan. 25. 
After that date, Franklin has 120 days to pass a debt exclusion to pay for the project.

Read more:

Related information from Open Forum about the High School Project held on Nov 17

"Attendance last night was sparse"

Nutting said Public Works is short 12 positions from being fully staffed. 
“It’s all about money,” Nutting said. “As far as limbs, you know what, we have no tree budget.”The workshop discussed ways to either save or bring in money, including using high school and college students for summer DPW work, which Nutting said the town does already, requiring user fees for publicly-owned fields, re-examining public employee benefits, and trying to attract more and higher-end businesses. “I am curious as to why we don’t have medium and above-grade restaurants here,” Whalen said. “The answer can’t be that we’re doomed by Taco Bells and Wendy’s.” 
Benedetto suggested re-examining the development by-laws to see if businesses are being deterred either by town rules or the process the town imposes to develop land.

Read more:

I am disappointed in the poor participation. I was hoping there would be a better turn out. There may have been others like myself who had a work commitment that prevented their attendance.

With the Master Plan review coming up, this would be a good time to get involved and review the current bylaws affecting development. If you are interested, you can get in touch with the Town Administrators office to apply.

Related posts on the Master Plan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Town Council: Workshop - Weds, Dec 14

“It’s really a workshop to try and brainstorm about the community, get input from community members as to where their ideas are,” Town Council Vice Chairwoman Tina Powderly said. “It’s sort of an open session, a way to encourage and facilitate citizen participation.”

Read more:

Details on tonight's session:

When: 7:00 PM Wednesday, Dec 14
Where: 3rd Floor Training Room, Municipal Bldg
What: Town Council to gather input from residents
Who: all Franklin residents

Open Meeting Law Workshop

The Open Meeting Law presentation document used to prepare the School Committee on the MA regulations.

If you have trouble viewing the slideshow with this tool, you can also view a Google Docs version here

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

“It’s what we’re supposed to do”

Police arrest Dean College student wanted in sneaker assault

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Dec 13, 2011 - Agenda

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 October 25, 2011 November 9, 2011 and November 15, 2011 School Committee Meetings.
• Payment of Bills Mrs. McIntyre
• Payroll Mrs. Douglas
• Correspondence:

  1. Budget to Actual
  2. Revolving Account Memo

2. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the Field Trip to The Veteran’s Auditorium in Providence, RI for Parmenter 5th graders on April 10, 2012 as detailed.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for Annie Sullivan Middle School.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $600.00 from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for Annie Sullivan Middle School.
d. I recommend acceptance of two checks ($282.66 & 262.00) totaling $534.66 from the Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign from Mr. Douglas Lee for the Franklin High School.
e. I recommend acceptance of an anonymous donation of $5,000.00 for the Jefferson Elementary School.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $270.00 for the Franklin School District.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from the ASMS PCC for a 6th grade field trip.
h. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS for the MA DECA State Competition in Boston, MA on 3/8 – 10/12 as detailed.
i. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS for the International DECA Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah on 4/28 – 5/1/12 as detailed.
j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Integrated Classroom Technology which was a MobiView prize from drawing at Mass cue conference for Oak Street Elementary School.
k. I recommend acceptance of a check for 202.36 from consignment materials from Follett for Jefferson Elementary School.
l. I recommend acceptance of the donation of PE Equipment from Infinite Kids for the Davis Thayer Elementary School.
m. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 36 Bose multimedia speaker systems valued at $99.95 each from Bose Corporation for the district.

3. Superintendent’s Report

4. New Business

5. Open Meeting Law Training – Michelle McNulty

6. Adjourn

In the News - refinance, ECDC, Dean, MSBA

Franklin refinances bonds

Frankllin's ECDC accepts applications

State sending early payments for some school-building projects

Cops: Three men had knives at Dean College in Franklin

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Open House 2011

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
URCC logo white background 
The United Regional
Chamber of Commerce's
Holiday Open House 
Dear Stephen,

You're cordially invited to attend the Chamber's Holiday Open House! Come to The United Regional Chamber of Commerce's Franklin office, 4 West St., on Wed., Dec. 14 or the Attleboro office, 42 Union St., on Thurs., Dec. 15. Both open houses run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. We'd love to celebrate the holidays with you! Please bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to the Santa Foundation.

This email was sent to by |  
The United Regional Chamber of Commerce | 42 Union Street | Attleboro | MA | 02703

Jazz mistakes for Monday (video)

Monday morning. New week. New beginnings.

Music can be a metaphor for so much.

Orchestra, band = a form of organization

Conductor, band leader = leader

What is a mistake? By talking through examples with his improvisational Jazz quartet, Stefon Harris walks us to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don't react to them appropriately.

Spend about 13 minutes with this video from TEDSalon


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Franklin, MA: Town Council Work Session

The Town Council will hold a work session on Wednesday, Dec 14. The work session will take place in the 3rd Floor Training Room at the Municipal Bldg. The session will begin at 7:00 PM.

The session is open to all Franklin residents. You can have direct access to the councilors to talk about your issues and concerns.

This is a great idea! The newly formed Council is attempting to foster more direct access to Franklin residents and we need to take advantage of this opportunity.

During the current Town Council meetings, you only 3 minutes to say something during Citizens Comments and then you have to wait until the end of the meeting agenda where either the Town Administrator or one (or more) of the Council will have an opportunity to respond to whatever was raised. While it works to have issues raised, this 'Citizens Comment" process does not foster a conversation.

How long the session will go will depend upon how many show up to get involved in the discussion.

Recall the listing of items up for discussion at future Town Council meetings and published as part of the workshop held in November. If you are looking for a topic, this would be one place to start.

"raising money to buy gifts for families and children who would otherwise go without"

It’s all part of the school’s Light Up a Life project that works with a local charity, The Santa Foundation, for which students shop and then wrap and deliver gifts. This year, the gifts will be distributed to 26 families as well as 24 children from a home for abused children. 
“It feels really special to give back to the community. After doing this the past two years, it feels like a Christmas tradition,” said junior Rob Ward, one of the peer leaders helping with the drive. 
Light Up a Life peer leaders, who serve as school ambassadors, collect money from fellow classmates and teachers. They are then given a family for whom to buy gifts which come from a wish list made by the family.

Read more:

To make a contribution, visit their website and donate using PayPal

Only 2 Days to Go

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Downtown Partnership by (Franklin Downtown Partnership) on 12/10/11

The Partnership and the Food Elves still need a few more donations to meet our goal of 1,200 pounds of food so the Food Pantry will receive $1,200 in matching funds!

Please drop off your donations by Monday, December 12.

If the Food Elves reach their goal and collect 1,200 pounds of food, participating businesses pledge an additional $1,200 in matching funds! 1,200 pounds of food can provide 923 meals to those in need. The $1,200 can provide an additional 6,000 meals.

Look for food donation bins at these locations:

  • Franklin Downtown Partnership office
  • Jane's Frames
  • Printsmart Office Supplies
  • Berry Insurance
  • Dean Bank
  • Dean College
  • YMCA
  • Allied Chiropractic
  • Food Pantry -- with a note indicating that you want it to go toward the Food Elves/FDP food drive campaign

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Food Pantry and the Food Elves' "12 Days of Donating" campaign!

Things you can do from here:

"education must be a priority"

Looking to the future, Biocchi said she foresees economic growth in MetroWest expanding toward I-495, the way businesses filled in the Rte. 128 corridor 10 years ago. 
Dunne said MetroWest cities and towns are learning how to show love to the businesses with roots in MetroWest and also find ways to bring new ones. 
Natick’s Economic Development Committee will soon launch a website aimed at attracting new industries and their employees. 
“Over time I think MetroWest will be sort of a known region,” Joseph said.

Read more:

Related posts on Franklin's economic development efforts

Reward for lost cat (photo)

When you go looking for a lost cat, wouldn't it be nice to have a photo? We do, now happy hunting for Sal.

Hi Steve,
I was wondering if you would consider posting about my lost cat? I understand if it's not the right forum, but I am out of my mind with worry and I am reaching out to anyone in Franklin (Freecycle has graciously posted my message):

Black with greenish/yellow eyes
No collar
Answers to "Sal"
Last seen around 248 Pleasant St., Franklin, on December 8.

He is exclusively an indoor cat - he has no idea what to do outside. If you see him, please call me at 508-541-4431 or email me at: If you can take him in and keep him safe, I would be eternally grateful.


Thank you,
Kelly Stenstrom