Saturday, March 15, 2014

Emmons St building discussion scheduled for Apr 2

From the home page of the Franklin, MA website comes this announcement:
Town Council Chairman Robert Vallee has postponed the discussion on the Old Municipal Building at 150 Emmons Street which was expected take place at the March 19 Council meeting. It will be discussed at the April 2 Town Council meeting. 
This will allow all interested parties additional time to consider potential future uses of the property. Chairman Vallee encourages all interested citizens to attend the meeting.

Emmons St building - view from West Central St
Emmons St building - view from West Central St

The notes recorded live during the public meeting on March 4

The handouts from the meeting were posted here

Girls Youth Lacrosse Clinic - Mar 18th

Franklin High School girls lacrosse coach Kristin Igoe assisted by members of the team will hold a lacrosse clinic on Tuesday, Mar 18th. Details in the flyer shown below.

Franklin High School, home of the Panthers
Franklin High School, home of the Panthers

Registration is available through the Franklin Recreation Dept webpage here

"warnings went unheeded"

On the education front, the growth of the common core and standardized testing should be discussed. 
A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined. 
The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard. 
Is this drastic shift in kindergarten the result of a transformation in the way children learn? 
No. A 2011 nationwide study by the Gesell Institute for Child Development found that the ages at which children reach developmental milestones have not changed in 100 years.
What I find interesting is that the Univ of Virginia study covered the period 1999-2006. The trend they noticed has only increased since 2006. If one follows that logic, then we are worse off because of this.

Oak St/Horace Mann school complex
Oak St/Horace Mann school complex

Disclosure - yes, my wife happens to be a kindergarten teacher here in Franklin. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 3/14/14 - THU 3/20/14

FRI 3/14   6:30pm   March Madness Family Carnival. Free. Hockomock YMCA
FRI 3/14   6:30pm   Art Night Uncorked at Franklin Art Center
FRI 3/14   7pm   FHS presents: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at HMMS Franklin.

SAT 3/15   8am-1pm   Bottle and Can Drive to benefit Franklin HS All Night Party.
SAT 3/15   9am   3rd Annual Shamrock Shuffle - Medway HS. Sign up HERE.
SAT 3/15   9am-4pm   Franklin Public Library Book Sale
SAT 3/15   11am-5pm   Irish Festival at Patriot Place.
SAT 3/15   7pm   FHS presents: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at HMMS Franklin.

SUN 3/16   9am-12pm   Franklin Public Library Bag Sale, $5 per bag of books
SUN 3/16   12-4pm   Winter Carnival at Franklin HS
SUN 3/16   3:00pm   FSPA performs at Showcase Live, Patriot Place as part of  "A Broadway Review"

MON 3/17   Happy St. Patrick's Day!

WED 3/19   9am-7pm   Cupcakes for Cancer Fundraiser for Relay for Life at The Cake Bar in Franklin.
WED 3/19   1:30pm   Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Seminar at Franklin Senior Center.
WED 3/19   7pm   Town Council Meeting, Franklin Municipal Bldg.
WED 3/19   7pm   17th Annual FEF Trivia Bee at the Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin.

THU 3/20   4-5pm   Lego Mania at the Franklin Public Library, ages 6-12.
THU 3/20   7:00pm  Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #3, Franklin Municipal Bldg

For more details on above events click HERE and select the event of interest.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email

DelCarte Property - Winter wonderland (video)

Along the walk last Saturday, I stopped by the DelCarte Property. I captured some video from the dam and some photos as I followed a trail through the woods.

The video from the dam and a 360 degree view

DelCarte Open Space sign on Pleasant St
DelCarte Open Space sign on Pleasant St

I think I should have brought my sled!
I think I should have brought my sled!

water and ice
water and ice

culvert view of the dam
culvert view of the dam

the swans found the open water
the swans found the open water

the playground does blend in with the winter trees
the playground does blend in with the winter trees

I can hardly wait for the snow to go sway so I can explore more of the trails.

FSPA: A Broadway Revue

Franklin Performing Arts Company Presents
March 16 ♦ 3pm

Showcase Live, Patriot Place, Foxboro 
A Broadway Revue
Broadway stars Tyler Hanes and Tony Mansker
Opening number staged by guest artist Michael Raine!

 Tyler Hanes' numerous Broadway credits include A Chorus Line, The Boy from Oz, Hairspray, Sweet Charity, Urban Cowboy, The Frogs and Oklahoma!
Tony Mansker made his Broadway debut as Bert in Mary Poppins, and his National Tour credits include West Side Story.

Special appearances by
FPAC's Nick Paone and Hallie Wetzell
FSPA Musical Theater Students
Electric Youth

Music from 
42nd Street, Hairspray, Tommy, Memphis, Footloose, Barnum,
Seussical the Musical, and more!

Doors open at 2 PM for best seat selection.
Showcase Live pub menu and beverages available.

A Broadway Review
A Broadway Review

In the News: distracted driving

The distracted driving program was presented at Franklin High School on Thursday.
A portrait of an attractive young woman with blonde hair smiled at them from a projector screen. 
The bright face belonged to Casey Feldman, who, her father Joel Feldman said Thursday, has become a heartbreaking example of the danger and pain wrought by distracted driving.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #2

Present:  Dowd, Conley, Fleming, Dufour, Dewsnap, Smith, Quinn
Absent: Huemphner, Aparo

Nutting, Dacey

Comment on tips for audio recording
1 - say name before speaking first time, when watching video folks can see who is speaking when listening without the name, they wouldn't recognize the voice

2 - take care with paper handling, the microphones pick up a lot

3 - table taps whether with fingers or pen/pencils also picked up

the combination of the background noises if repetitive can be distracting to the listener

Ryan Jette; Meghan Woodacre
Recreation Dept

over 300 programs a year effectively self funding, expenses generally covered by fee revenue

Q - has the usage gone up?
A - new programs have been introduced to increase overall activity
flag football has almost 500

Q - on 4 - 3 drop
A - moved a full time secretary to a part time

Q - With fields being torn up by the high school
A - we have been working with Dean and Tri-County to use those fields. The college finishes early so that frees up their fields early. It was a bit of a crunch but it is something we can work with

Q - How do you get the money out of Medway?
A - registrations are online and electronically paid so it is automatically deposited in our accounts, no matter where they reside

Q - if it rolls over what happens?
A - generally within $10K and it would roll into the general fund; they also have established minimums to establish a program. The big programs can cover some of the smaller ones

Brutus Cantoreggi

All in all about $15M total for the budget (including the enterprise accounts)

start with general DPW budget #422
supported by local taxes
highway, central motors, Beaver St recycling

challenge for 2014 is increase workload, 6 less employees since he started
DelCarte and Sculpture Park for example

MassDEP regulatory requirements

HPP - Downtown improvement project
while the State is running the project, when residents have issues, they will likely will call us

basically a level service budget

tree removal increased, has been when it falls down, we pick it up, we'd like to be more proactive
would like to do more asphalt
the Beaver St recycling center is actually starting to look nicer, the folks are satisfied with what we are doing

the major element is storm water, when the EPA sets the regs, it will need to be dealt with

the primary part of most town budgets are personnel costs, my budget is 65% expenses (not personnel costs)

many of the turnbacks are from the employee side, it takes time to hire someone
3 employees are out on workers comp, can backfill until their situation is clarified

TIP money is really tight, there are 101 towns trying to split $45M

if you do the engineering and the standards change you need to re-do the work
need to front the money for engineering work
lions share of state money is going to RT 2

Work to reduce the width of the road, add a sidewalk and we could do it for less

There isn't much money in this budget for roads
the road money is in the capital plan which goes up and down
I have suggested something else to provide that revenue
with adding 2500 seniors, we ought to be building sidewalks
a critical component to health and welfare, it walking
sidewalks need to be in the mix

Q - snow removal, who is responsible for the removal
A - when the contractors are brought in, they supplement the Town work
The DPW personnel budget is overtime

Q - Where do we stand for 2014?
A - just shy of $1M, about $100,000 over budget

we have reduced the amount of salt we put out, if we do the whole town like today, it is about $30,000
if we do the 6 truck route, it is about $6,000

it is hard to show with the numbers but we really has reduced the amount of salt
on the wells, we see the salt go up in the spring time and we need to be careful
the sand goes in the catch basins and we have to pay to ship it away
if you're doing one thing right, something else is wrong

Q - highways salaries, a 15% increase in personnel?
A - actually filled some vacancies and partially due to the increase in collective bargaining agreement

Q - B12 - vehicle parts and accessories
A - we had looked at the averages, the 260 may have been a blip due to a unique event

we try to keep things repaired, when a sidewalk plow goes down, and it costs to fix it, we need to pay for it
we can move money from one line item to another

Q - how early do we bid for fuel?
A - we are participating with a bunch of other towns, we are bidding out a year at a time

we're currently paying $2.09/gal for gas, $3.39 for diesel (we don't pay taxes)
winter is our heaviest use for fuel

Q - on page D6, there is an equipment disposal?
A - a shift to road construction with chip sealing towards the end of the year

Q - what is the size of the fleet
A  - about 250 registered vehicles and a bunch of other lesser vehicles

you are welcome to come down, we are fortunate to have 3 mechanics who do great work

we are in the process of designing the new building, in order to move the equipment and then take down the old building, also loosing space at the high school so the new one needs to be ready to replace it

Enterprise Funds 450/440/434 Section H

looking to get another $7.5M bond to continue water work without increasing rates
we have fundamentally changed how we are budgeting
we prepare for the worst, which is what we do
with declining sales of water due to water conservation, the treatment plant is very expensive to run
able to turn facility off about 3 months a year, which reduces the costs
with more water sales, then we would need to turn all the wells on and increase the expenses

manganese, EPA and DEP are looking at it, our system is fine but they are looking at individual wells so we might need to add another treatment plant
eventually it will increase the water rates when the reg are set but we want to be prepare for it

decline decreasing, about 7-8% for unaccounted for water, leaks, fires, hydrant flushing
the biggest savings has been fixing the leaks, new buildings coming in with more efficient appliances
Garelick used to be even bigger, they are reducing their usage

we need to have reserve compression for fire supression
engineering deficit is calculated, if all are running at max, what do you produce? take the max well off line, can you meet that number? if not, that is what you need to reach

water smart development is water efficient development
rain gardens, grey water used for toilet flushing
MA is unique and ahead of other states, 43 inches of rain so we are able to use it
water we can capture from rain it is cheaper than pumping it up

water rain barrels were sold, not sold now as there is no demand

a new grant for rain gardens, new program coming (was a naming contest but not sure what the final name is)

The new fields when the high school comes down, they will be real turf fields
they are smart gadgets to ensure we water when we need to and not over water

down a little, just received the Charles River tonight
will spike in 2016 by about $700K due to the sewer system renovations

we did up the sewer rates last year in anticipation of this coming, so we are hoping that we will have enough to cover the increase

reduced a lot of inflow in our pipe to the Charles River, we are sending less waste
also means that ground water stays in the ground which helps our wells

26 lift station and personnel but the lion;s share is the flow

Trash/Solid Waste

cost is going up by the escalator in the contract
proposing a $4/year increase to the Council
the increase would be to $216 so we would still be below what we were 5-6 years ago
this has been a very successful program for the Town

contracts with escalator clauses

  • disposal of the rubbish
  • collection of the rubbish
  • school bus contract
  • school lunch contract with Whitson

these are also enterprise accounts so the extras go back into the fee remediation

mostly based upon fuel costs

All the rest of these budgets are status quo budgets

Planning - 177 A-38
personnel increases are due to negotiation wages
personnel numbers themselves stay the same
no real changes otherwise

NuStyle building used to exit, one building was taken down
another fell down and we need to finish the demo
we know there is asbestos there
used to be a jewelry manufacturing place

Inspection 1- 240 B-53
minor salary increase due to certifications achieved

Health  - 510 E-1
salary adjustment to make the position more competitive relative to our peers

Public Health - 525 E-7
VNA used in lieu of hiring our own staff

Veterans 543 E-18
30 hour position
out reach work shifted

old business - none

Q - DPW biggest percent of the budget is non-personnel cost
can you comment on the payment controls?

A - street opening permit, sticker for landfill, Jim and Susan have worked to put controls in place
We audit to ensure they are following the right procedures, don't take cash at the Beaver St, everything is check or credit card

the accounts payable is controlled whether it is DPW or not, anything over $2500 needs a purchase order, no bills paid without proof of services rendered, controller, treasure, and my signature required
School have their process but the final payments til come trough us

new business
next meeting here at Mar 20th

motion to adjourn

FinCom Budget Hearing Mar 11 - Audio

The audio recording for the first budget hearing at the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 11.

My notes for this session can be found here:

The second budget hearing is scheduled for Thursday Mar 13. The agenda is available

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

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

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to listen to the audio podcast.

Franklin, MA: Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #2

The second in a series of budget hearings will be held Thursday evening, Mar 13 beginning at 7:00 PM. This session will be held in the Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor of the Municipal Building.

The published agenda for this session is shown here:

The notes from the first budget hearing, Tuesday, Mar 11 can be found here

Patriots' Pancake Breakfast- Saturday, March 22

The eighth grade class at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School will host a pancake breakfast at the Franklin Elks Lodge (1077 Pond St) on Saturday, March 22 from 9-12.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.   
As an enrichment to their US history curriculum, the students will travel to Washington, DC in April.  Proceeds from the breakfast will offset the students' cost to participate in the educational trip.   
The breakfast is $5 per person or $15 per immediate family.   
Veterans and those serving in the military will be seated at a table of honor as the students' guests (no charge).   
Please invite our local heroes to attend the breakfast.   
Those wishing to sponsor a veteran's seat or table can send donations of any amount (marked "Veterans Breakfast Sponsor") to history teacher and veteran, Mr. Ed Callahan, at BFCCPS, 201 Main St. in Franklin, or donate at the door.

Bottle and can drive - Franklin High School

Bottle and can drive to be held THIS Saturday, March 15th at the Franklin High School from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM (rain or shine). The bottle/can drive will help raise funds for the All Night Party.

Just in case you aren’t entirely familiar with the All Night Party, it is a substance free party that is hosted by parents at the high school for the graduating seniors. There are activities from 11 pm - 5:00 a.m. This event provides the graduate with non-stop activities, unlimited food and drinks and they have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes. This is such a wonderful event of which 90+% of the students attend and thanks to approximately 500-700 volunteers we are able to pull it off!

new Franklin High School
new Franklin High School

Circle of Friends Coffeehouse: Lori McKenna with Mark Erelli March 22

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Circle of Friends Coffeehouse

262 Chestnut St

Franklin, MA
Phone: 508 528 2541

> Map

> Official Site
> ReverbNation Profile
at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse
with Mark Erelli
March 22nd, $25
Lori McKenna
Lori McKenna
Lori McKenna returns to the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse on Saturday, March 22nd at 8PM. Lori is a master at chronicling the small, difficult moments between romantic partners as they navigate their relationships. The Stoughton singer/songwriter has had great success in Nashville where her songs have been covered by Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and many other artists. Lori released her 6th full-length studio record "Massachusetts" last year . Get your tickets before this show sells-out!
"Poignant and profound poetry. She has an uncanny ability to paint stories of the human condition in a way that reminds us all that we are not alone."
—Keith Urban

Mark Erelli opens the show and then joins Lori in her set.

"No need to read between the lines when singer-songwriter Mark Erelli vents on "Delivered"...The prolific New England-based tunesmith makes his case with clarity and conviction. Even listeners who don't share Erelli's views might find it difficult to dismiss the quality of his songcraft or his ties to the likes of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie."
—Washington Post

Mark Erelli
Mark Erelli
The Circle of Friends Coffeehouse is a non-profit organization affiliated with Franklin's First Universalist Society. Concerts are presented in a smoke free and alcohol free environment at the Society's handicapped accessible Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St. in Franklin, and begin at 8:00 PM; doors open at 7:30 PM. Beverages and gourmet desserts will be available. Admission is $25. Please call (508)528-2541 or visit to purchase tickets or for more information.

PLAY Sat Mar 22 14, 08:00 PM
Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli
Tickets: $25
  Sat Apr 05 14, 08:00 PM
Garnet Rogers, Archie Fisher
Tickets: $20
  Sat Apr 26 14, 08:00 PM
Zoƫ Lewis
Tickets: $20
PLAY Sat May 10 14, 08:00 PM
Ellis, Joe Crookston
Tickets: $20
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Physical inquiries can be sent to: 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA, 02038, US
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In the News: library renovation, local aid increases

A multimillion-dollar overhaul is being considered for the Ray Memorial Library, including a new addition in the back of the building and an upgraded cooling and heating system. 
Civitects, a Wareham-based architectural company, has presented the Capital Improvement Committee with the results of a revised feasibility study for the library that details the $6.6 million project.
Try to read the full article here

Note: the Milford Daily News is attempting to implement a 'paywall'. It is still not completely functional as there appear to be too many scripts running as they attempt to have their cake and eat it too. If they turned off all the pop up ads, their paywall might work effectively requiring someone to pay to read. As it is, I have been able to get by the pop ups (so far anyway).

The House budget committee plans to release its version of Gov. Deval Patrick’s $36.4 billion fiscal 2015 budget next month, with debate on it planned for the last week in April. After helping to raise taxes last year to support transportation system investments, House Speaker Robert DeLeo has ruled out tax hikes in this year’s budget. 
Under the agreement, the Chapter 70 program would receive $4.4 billion, its largest appropriation ever, and a $99 million increase over the current state budget. Every school district will receive a state aid increase of at least $25 per pupil. Unrestricted local aid under the joint resolution would increase by $25 million to $946 million. 
In his budget, filed in January, Patrick proposed a $100 million increase in Chapter 70 funding and no increase in unrestricted local aid.
Read the full article here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Franklin Schools: Weather Update

We have been following weather forecasts and here is the latest report for your review.  Based on current predictions we will be having school. DPW will be treating roads so that should mitigate some of the icy conditions.  We advise parents of HS students who drive to consider dropping students off at school. Please be mindful that roads/ parking lots will be slick. 
FYI   If conditions change overnight there may be a need for a school delay. Thank you and apologies for having to continue to bother you with weather communications when it is almost Spring. Think Rain ! 
Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building


This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT either IN PERSON, by US MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at 508-613-1777.

The walk (photo essay) (part 2)

The walk on Saturday covered a lot of territory and the results have been split into separate posts. You can find the first section here  and continue the 'reporting by walking around' with me

the 'other' Dean tree
Dean College sitting in the center of Franklin is home to several good large trees. I have highlighted the largest one before. This one on the corner of Main St and Emmons St is also impressive.

tree shadows

One's path in the snow provides a contrast to the tree shadows cast in the early morning light

National Historic District
Yes, Franklin does have quite a bit of history and it has been recognized with a "National Historic District". The display on the Town Common provides highlights on the district.

snow melt reveals the Gettysburg Address
Fortunately, the snow has continued to melt so while the words were beginning to be revealed on Saturday, they are likely completely revealed now. And let's hope the storm that comes by later Weds into Thursday just gives us a dusting of snow.We have had enough already!

Davis Thayer field tree
The tree at the edge of the Davis Thayer field (along School St) provides a good photo in the sunlight

Key dates coming up at Davis Thayer

The 5th has already come and gone but the Auction will be held Saturday the 15th and then there is a fund raising event at the Franklin Grill on March 21st.

The middle part of the walk will be covered in another posting this week. I got out to the DelCarte Property and had some fun walking in the snow. Stay tuned!

"End Distracted Driving" Program - Comes to Franklin High School


The Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) will bring the "End Distracted Driving" (EDD) program to Franklin High School in Franklin, MA on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.  
The EDD program was started by Philadelphia Attorney Joel Feldman, whose daughter was killed in 2009 by a distracted driver and who will be speaking at the Franklin High School presentation. 
Atty. J. Michael Conley, the President of MATA remarked: "The End Distracted Driving program is one of the most important ongoing initiatives that MATA has ever done. It reaches out to our most vulnerable drivers – high school students. The program is designed to raise awareness of the dangers in driving distracted and hopes to protect young drivers by educating them. What could be more important in our society?"  
MATA has adopted attorney Feldman's EDD program and continues to visit as many high schools and colleges as possible each year to impress upon students the many dangers of driving distracted. 
Representative Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin), who was instrumental in bringing MATA and the EDD program to Franklin High School, said, "Distracted driving substantially increases the risk of an accident and young drivers are at the greatest risk. While we have laws in place, distracted driving remains a major health risk with deadly consequences. When I saw the End Distracted Driving program I knew that it had to be showcased in our area, as I think it is something all high school students should see".  
As of this date, MATA volunteers and Joel Feldman have presented the EDD program in over twenty high schools and colleges in Massachusetts.

Financial Audit Results

The annual financial audit was reviewed during the last Town Council meeting. It is effectively a 'good' audit. There are some minor issues to be worked on according to the management letter. The complete text of all three documents can be found here

The Annual Financial Statements (53 pages)

The Management Letter (6 pages)

Additional items not covered in the Management Letter (2 pages)

The notes from the Town Council discussion can be found here

The video of the Town Council meeting can be viewed here

(skip ahead to about 34 minutes to catch the section on the audit)

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Franklin Schools: Update 3/11/14


March 11, 2014


My hope is that spring is almost here and that I will not have to call your homes at dawn with a snow message this week. If I have to contact our families on Thursday you may hear me whimpering and crying with disappointment. We are keeping our fingers crossed for rain.

Last day is June 20 and it is a half day.

Upcoming Events:

  • FHS Winter Carnival
A fun-filled program designed and run by the students at Franklin High School. Games, snacks prize for preschool and elementary students- all proceeds to benefit the Munroe family fund. Sunday, March 16 from 12:00 until 4:00 FHS Fieldhouse

  • Franklin Education Foundation Annual Trivia Bee

Come to the annual town-wide trivia bee on Wednesday, March 19 at 7:00 at the Mercer Auditorium at Horace Mann Middle School. Watch the teams compete for dominance in music trivia, have some snacks and bid on auction prizes. The finds raised support grants to Franklin educators.  See if the Franklin School Committee can repeat as champs and listen to the musical talent of the FHS Jazz Band.

  • PARCC Parent Presentation
Formal presentation by teams of our administrators and teachers on the PARCC Pilot. Breakout sessions by level (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) to view sample questions and experience online assessment. The date of the PARCC Parent Night  is Thursday , March 20 at 6:30 at Horace Mann Middle School. 

This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT either IN PERSON, by US MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at 508-613-1777.

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building