Sunday, January 31, 2016

Capital plan, change to food service and calendar key items from School Committee meeting

The capital plan, a change to the food service, and approval of the school calendar for next year were key items from the School Committee meeting held Jan 26.  A discussion on a change to the winter breaks for future calendars led to a subcommittee being formed to look at the pros/cons of the change.

  • Schools Capital Plan

The School Dept capital plan was discussed at the School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, Jan 26. Franklin uses 'free cash' to funds the big ticket items not covered by the operating budget. The amount of 'free cash' varies year to year. The other primary draw on 'free cash' is to fund the potential shortfall in the snow/ice budget. If we have an easy winter, there is less needed. If the winter is a tough one (like 2015), then Franklin will wait until after snow removal bills are covered to see how much 'free cash' is available for capital items.

As part of the overall budget planning process, the capital budget items rise to discussion first. They are reviewed by the School Committee, then the Finance Committee and ultimately the Town Council. Last year, some of the capital items were approved for budgeting and some were held pending the final numbers on the winter snow removal bills. We'll see what happens this time around.

The full list of the items on the School Dept wish list for capital can be found here along with my notes on the discussion.

  • Food service changes

In the discussion items section of the meeting, Whitson's will be replaced as the schools food service provider. The School District will hire their own food director and bring the service inhouse. The administrative and service fees paid to Whitson's will cover the personnel cost of the new director and provide a 'wash' budget wise. An interesting move as five years ago when Whitsons was brought in, the argument was the requirements were too onerous to keep up with. Now apparently, the realization is that the fees are too onerous and the requirements something that can be handled.

  • School Calendar

With no discussion, the vote to accept the calendar for 2016-2017 was complete and the food service discussion started. At the end of the food service discussion they went back to the calendar at the request of one member and spent a good deal off time talking about potential changes to future calendars and ultimately set up to form a subcommittee to look into it more fully. The key change being looked at the is the change from two winter breaks to one. Although it was mentioned again that 37 years ago, the one winter break was tried and didn't work. 

Excuse me but 37 years ago, things were just a little bit different in Franklin. The discussion merits a new look, layout the pros and cons and decide. The communications and change management for the calendar proposal would be as critical to the new calendar as the decision itself. 

Stay tuned for future updates on the discussion for possible changes to the 2017-2018 calendar.

The official calendar for the 2016-2017 school year can be found here

  • All State Music Festival

Seven members of FHS were selected to be part of the All State music, this is the largest representation ever for the school.

Ian Carla - Drums - All State Jazz Band 
Cameron Crawley - Tuba - All State BandMatt Dao - Trumpet - All State Band 
Chris Cheri - viola - All State OrchestraKatelyn Davenport - viola - All State OrchestraAbigail Gleason - viola - All State OrchestraDominic Narducci - cello - All State Orchestra

The performance by the All State groups will be held on March 12th at Symphony Hall in Boston

Franklin School Committee
Franklin School Committee

  • Meeting notes

All the notes reported live during the meeting can be found here

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