Showing posts with label FY 11. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FY 11. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live reporting - FY 2011 budget

3. Discussion Only Items
FY11 Budget

15 teachers
3 buses cut
Working to shorten the elementary day
If the shortened day does not pass the teachers union, it would require 3 additional teacher positions to balance the budget.

Did discuss a family cap, did not calculate that in the budget, therefore there would be a recommendation to not have a family cap. (hence, all families would pay full for all students in the family).

Pandora's role shifting, one to have Brad Sidwell try and generate some additional revenue
two, to try and build some additional strategic alliances

Cafasso - just because we did not plan this well does not mean we should not consider a family cap. I would consider it but I haven't had access to the budget dollars to see what difference it would make.

Students with free and reduced lunch are exempt from paying the fees
If families are having problems with the fee structure, the family should reach out to the principals and Brad Sidwell who can work out an accommodation.

Franklin, MA Public Schools - FY2011 Overview2

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to view the document attached

Franklin, MA

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Live reporting - Town Council - FY 2011 Budget Hearing - Part 2

Present:  Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Powderly
Absent: McGann, Zollo

Jeff Nutting, Susan Gagner, Jim Dacey

no questions or comments before going through the budget line items, items can be held for discussion

Hold on police expenses - Vallee
My priority is health, safety and education
We are down to 45 with a population of 33, 000
I don't feel comfortbale with that

Vallee - how many on a shift?
Williams - I try to run 6-8 on a shift
Sooner or later we are going to get caught, I don't want anyone pointing fingers
We do 42,000 incidents, almost 6,000 - 911 calls
When the economy turns down, the activities turn up
There are more stress levels in the home environment, it takes an officer longer to resolve the issues
Am I comfortable, no

Vallee - I think we should have cut other departments to maintain staff here

Williams - We are also loosing three dispatchers this year, I will only have two people during the peak times
there will be times when citizens will call and they will wait, can't be helped

Vallee - Hold on fire salaries
McCarragher - with 12 per shift, and one off, we could still staff two vehicles
with 11 on shift, and one off, we can only staff one vehicle
it is a very complex event, 50% of our calls are coming in back-to-back
we need to figure out how to staff and not tax our surrounding help, it won't help them and it won't help us
What's going to happen on July 1, I still don't know yet

Vallee - I am getting complaints about too many people showing up on an ambulance call
McCarragher - the most important service is responding to the next one, we are living within the means we are given, we are relying upon partners and we are trying to figure this out

Vallee - I am unhappy with the situation, it is getting worse every year
McCarragher - yes, I can agree with you on that point

Jones - Is there a standard
McCarragher - we are staffed for 2 minor emergencies to handle at once, or one major emergency
With the budget being voted on tonight, I have nine instead of ten

Kelly - Hold on OPEB
our responsibility is a whole lot more is this just a place holder?
Nutting - yes, this is a start, I will be coming back with a more complete analysis we can transfer other monies there and invest a little more aggressively

Resolution on Elected Officials Salaries
Motion to approve, passed 7-0
MA general law have to be voted separately, they deferred their salaries last year and this get them whole this year like everyone else

(see document on link for full details of resolution)
Resolution on Town Budget for FY 2011
motion to approve, passed 7-0
Sewer rate increase likely next year

Council Comments
Powderly - Bellingham police office struck on traffic duty
Fire statistics are showing a decline in response

Vallee - can we take some money from the Stabilization fund to provide more safety
Nutting - the Council can do that at any time with a two thirds vote, taking money for one time events will create further problems down the road

Whalen - with regards to the Police and Fire budget cuts they should not be a surprise to anyone
They were well notified during the recent discussions
Taking money from the stabilization fund, we should not take that for operational deficits
If we did so, as we eventually go for financing the high school renovations, that would on an out of pocket calculation about a $2 million increase that we can avoid.

Mason - I spoke to a gentleman today who thought the best idea was to reduce the overtime
when staff goes down the overtime goes up, coverage is still required

The Budget hearing document for Thursday can be found here (PDF)

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Live reporting - Town Council - FY 2011 Budget Hearing

Present: Kelly, Jones, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, McGann, Powderly, Zollo
Absent: Vallee

Jeff Nutting, Jim Dacey, Susan Gagner

Part one of two part budget hearing, Wednesday and Thursday
Thanks to Susan and Jim for their work on preparation, the FINCOM also reviewed this, thanks to them for their help

Revenue side
The budget starts in the Fall and as we go through the year
We are always looking ahead to see what we are facing.
As bad as this is, we will be wishing next year that this year is back.
We are already thinking about that.

Revenue up a couple million, allowed to increase up to 2.5 percent - $1.8 million
Interest income, excise taxes, state aid loss again this year (lost in excess of $3 M in last three years)

May have to ask for the Council to change the budget procedurally in July
We are using the House budget, the Senate budget is different
We won't know exactly until the State makes their decision final.

We did take advantage of the meals tax, we have $300,000 from that which helps this year

We will start a $1.2 Million in the hole next year due to one time stimulus funds this year not available next year.

Expense side
All budgets reflect a deferment of the wages from last year's budget
They are in effect this year

The health care changes the employees agreed to and that has saved jobs

Overall the budgets are supressed
The Town loses nine positions, the Schools lose 15 and other changes that they'll will elaborate on as this goes
The DPW loses three people, there will be delays in lawn cutting, etc.
The Police are losing three dispatchers so that will delay some calls, hopefully not 911 calls

Q - Pfeffer
What are the increases reflected in this budget?
A - Nutting
There is no fiscal 2011 increase in this budget
Most of the contracts remain to be negotiated

Q - Pfeffer
I just hope whoever is going into negotiation knows that there is 0%
A - Nutting

Hold on Police Salaries - Whalen
Hold on unemployment compensation - Nutting
Hold on OPEB - Nutting

1 - Hold on Police Salaries - Whalen
The vast majority is the three dispatchers

2 - Hold on unemployment compensation - Nutting
Putting the Council on notice to add money to this account, with more layoffs coming, we will need more in this account, add $100,000 from free cash

3 - Hold on OPEB - Nutting
If money is put into this account, we can invest it more aggressively 
We need to look at this to meet our unfunded liability

Motion to close hearing, approved 8-0

Council comments
Powderly - thanks for all the activities, those who voted and those who did not vote also counted
The issues are not going to change next year

Zollo - thanks for all the effort
we will respect the will of the voters
As the overrides continue to come, as they will, I hope the increase

the Fire station, needs to be taken care of, why can't the fireman take care of it
The trees need to be taken care of, they are living trees

Thanks to all of those who came out to vote
We are going to make some cuts that will hurt

Overrides tend to bring out the worst in people
I wrote a letter that is posted on Franklin Matters, I am a better writer than speaker, so I urge you to go read the letter

Motion to adjourn, passed 8-0

Franklin, MA

Monday, June 7, 2010

Budget - Override Collection - FY 2011

The following links provide access to information on the budget for Fiscal Year 2011

Additional items will be added here as they are found/prepared.
If you are looking for something in particular regarding the budget and don't find it, please let me know.

Now what?

Letter from Ed Cafasso

Joint Statement on Override - June 8th

Scott Mason Interview on the whole gamut of topics around the vote on June 8th

Town Fiscal Year 2011 Budget document and cover letter

Budget Workshop (held Jan 25, 2010) to prepare for the budget

Finance Committee budget hearings
May 4th
May 6th
May 10th

Town Forum at Horace Mann School Auditorium (video)

Town Council budget hearings
June 9th - meeting notes can be found here
June 10th

Franklin budget for FY 2010

Franklin budget documents for years prior to 2010

Financial audit reports for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009

School Department/School Committee budget book (PDF)

School Department proposed cuts to the level service budget (assuming override does not pass)

School Committee override page

Schools presentation on budget and need for override

Financial Planning Committee report (long term plan) and documents

A series of posts on State Education Mandates (unfunded mandates)

Invest in Franklin:

The June 8th Special Election Flyer can be found here

The forums and events calendar to hear and discuss information on the Special Election June 8th can be found here

Franklin's override and debt exclusion history

Frequently Asked Questions

Significant comment discussion is also found in these articles on the Milford Daily News website

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's in? What's out? - either way, vote June 8th!

What’s in and what’s out?
Override Fails
Override Passes
Loss of: 7 elementary teachers 
and 8 middle school teachers
Staffing remains at FY10 levels
Club and activity fees at middle and high school will double to $50. Athletic fees will increase and move to a tiered system, resulting in fees ranging from $175 to $450 (up from current $125 fee)
No fee increases
Class sizes
Significant increases in class sizes in grades K‐8 and a shortened school day at elementary schools
No changes
Elimination of 3 buses
No change in service
Loss of three police dispatchers; potential implementation of recorded service for emergency call system; less coverage of parking meters and parking enforcement downtown
No change in service
Loss of one firefighter; uncertainty on availability of 2nd ambulance; revenue loss from ambulance fees
No change in service
Needed roadway repairs delayed indefinitely; 3 less employees; slower response times
Road repairs begin
Loss of one half‐time employee; reduction in book budget of over $60,000.
No changes

For more information on the special election June 8th to approve an increase of $3 Million to maintain services for Franklin, visit this page:

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Franklin, MA: Special election flyer

The flyer with pertinent information about the special election on June 8th can be viewed here:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Monday, May 17, 2010

FM #68 - Week Ending 5/16/10

Let's take about ten minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends May 16, 2010.

Time: 9 minutes, 22 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast
Number 68 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about 10 minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as this week comes to a close on Sunday May 16th.

In this session I'll cover last of the budget hearings by the Finance Committee on Monday, the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Downtown Revitalization Project on Wednesday, the open house at the DPW and the opening of the Historical Museum. To close, I'll do a brief outlook at the week ahead.

Beginning with the Finance Committee. They completed their set of budget hearings for fiscal year 2011. The hearings provided a detailed discussion with each department head on their budget needs. One significant outcome from the meeting was an endorsement by the FINCOM of the upcoming override. The committee voted 8-0 to recommend the override. These folks, volunteers as are other Town boards, are closest to the budget and inner workings of the Town.

The details are available
May 4th
May 6th
May 10th

From the school committee meeting, the update on the dept of elementary and secondary education (DESE) visit that occurred in Dec 2009 was the most noteworthy. This visit effectively reviewed the civil rights, English language learners, and special education programs of the district. On a four point scale: commendable, implemented, partially implemented or not implemented; Franklin had 9 items in the partially implemented category and that was the focal point of the presentation. Many of these items had been discussed previously as a result of the research into the district scores from MCAS exams. Now as a result of DESE visit, there is a formal action plan being put together to address the findings. One visible effect that you can see is the new capability to translate a page on the Schools website to another language.

With so much happening last week, I realized I did not get a copy of the presentation document itself to post and that should be available shortly. Updated: the presentation can be found here

The other note worthy item from the meeting was the decision not to enable School choice for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. This keeps the 39 students we currently service in the district in place but does not expand to any others due to the possible class size increases if the override fails to pass. The real negative for this decision is the revenue lost from school choice. The revenue from school choice is a real plus to the district to fill in otherwise under utilized capacity within the class rooms in the district. In days where revenue is looked for, this would really be nice to have. At one point, the district received revenue from 70 students in the school choice program, that has declined to the current total of 39

The full set of notes from the meeting can be found here

The Downtown Improvement or Revitalization Project was reviewed by Bryan Taberner and the architects in a good working session on Wednesday. The meeting was broadcast and available for viewing here

The DPW held their annual open house on Saturday. At the same time, the Library held it's annual book sale, Good crowds took advantage of the great weather to explore the trucks and equipment in the DPW yard as well as peruse the books for sale.

A write up on the event including pictures is available here

The Historical Museum opened this weekend. A long time in planning and lots of sweat finally came to fruition. Having personally volunteered to move items from the old Washington St location to the former Town Hall downtown, it was really nice to see the finished work.

This is a great example of the low cost approach that Franklin has taken to produce a high quality product. Donations of material (TJ Maxx – display cases), school projects (Tri-County – library shelving and display cases), volunteer help (for the move, cataloging and on-going operational support), helped to make the money the Town spent much more effective.

Additional information and pictures of the new museum can be found here:

Other items of note:

Ed Cafasso published another in his series of informational newsletters

The EPA held a public informational meeting on the proposed storm water regulations on Wednesday. It was broadcast by the Franklin Cable group but has not yet been posted for review via the on-demand video. I do have the handout from the meeting to share at this time.

I recommend that you take advantage of the discussion opportunities as we approach the special election on June 8th. Members of the Town Council, School and Finance Committees will be available to answer questions about the budget for fiscal year 2011 and the proposal to raise an additional $3 million dollars to maintain our current services.

If you would like to discuss the budget details with me, please feel free to reach out and ask. I will make time to meet with you.

As we take a look ahead on this week's schedule.

Monday, the Planning Board opens a hearing on the new market proposal for 485 East Central St. What has commonly been seen as the rock pile.

Wednesday, the Town Council meets – agenda available

Franklin Town Budget Informational Forum sponsored by Sullivan, Keller & Davis Thayer PCC at Keller/Sullivan Middle School 7:00 PM

Franklin Town Budget Informational Forum sponsored by HMMS, Oak, ECDC, FHS PCC at Horace Mann/Thomas Mercer Auditorium 7:00 PM

What will you do this week?

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that
If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening!

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

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 & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to listen to the audio recording

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Letter from Ed Cafasso

Hello everyone,

I hope you enjoyed the stunning weekend weather.

As you know, Franklin voters will be asked to go to the polls on Tuesday, June 8, to decide a proposed $3 million override of Proposition 2½. If approved, approximately $300,000 will be used to restore municipal services, $1.8 million will be used to restore educational services, and $900,000 will be used to maintain roads throughout the town.

We need this money to stop the continued erosion of school and municipal services our community and to maintain our property values and quality of life.

Override votes can be a polarizing, which is not surprising when people’s money is at stake. On a pre-tax basis, the proposed override will cost the average taxpayer $254 per year, about 70 cents per day, based on the average property assessment of $368,000 in Franklin. Passage of the ballot question would add 69 cents to the tax rate, or $.69 per $1,000 of the assessed value of your home. That’s the out-of-pocket cost, but please also keep in mind that your local property tax payments are deductible federally.

I am writing today to pass along the wealth of information available to you to explain the proposed override and what’s at stake with this vote – and to offer you the opportunity to become actively involved in the effort if you wish.

Here’s what’s available to you:

An excellent brochure has been developed that attempts to answer common questions and provides a chart of what services will be affected by the outcome of the override vote. You can view and download the brochure at:

Up-to-date information and links on financial and academic issues, particularly from a school perspective, are available at:

Concerned citizens who support passage of the override have formed a group called “Invest in Franklin.” You can visit the Invest in Franklin web site for additional information at:

You can visit and join the Invest in Franklin group page on Facebook at:

A Facebook event page has been created as a reminder about the June 8 vote. You can view it here:!/event.php?eid=118040221563289

If you want to volunteer for the effort, please contact: Elise Nulton at or Deb Bartlett at Both Elise and Deb are listed in the Franklin phone book; they would welcome your support.

Financial donations in any amount to defray the cost of the campaign are also welcome. Checks made out to “Invest in Franklin” can be mailed to the group’s treasurer, Deb Bartlett, 2 Eldon Drive, Franklin, MA, 02038.

There are a number of forums and meetings taking place throughout the community in the coming weeks to help our friends and neighbors learn more about why this vote is so important. On Monday, May 24, 2010, there will be a town-wide forum at the Mercer Auditorium at Horace Mann Middle School beginning at 7 p.m. Town officials will be on hand to present the facts and answer your questions. I plan to attend and hope to see you there.

The outcome of this override has implications for all the essential services on which you and your family rely in Franklin.

Your town and schools cannot continue to do more with less and still meet your expectations. From a public school perspective, Franklin now spends below the state average in every single category of measurement.

Yet our students – your children and grandchildren – enjoy one of highest performing school systems and rewarding academic experiences in Massachusetts. Every day, our schools work efficiently and well to earn your trust and support, as do our woefully under-funded police, fire and public works departments.

I hope the informational resources provided above give you an ample opportunity to learn more about the override, so you can cast an informed ballot on June 8. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

This e-mail reflects my opinion alone and is provided as a constituent service. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these e-mails, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.

Thank you!

Ed Cafasso, Member
Franklin School Committee

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Live reporting - Budget FY 2011

Jeff Nutting provided updates on the school building process
anticipating 50% reimbursement
debt exclusion override possible in Fall of 2011
construction could begin in 2013

$200,000 increase a far cry from the 2-3 M normally seen year to year

House Ways & Means cut another 525,000 from Chap 70
to be replaced this year with a one-time grant
not likely to be seen in 2012, so that budget year could be worse than this year

The budget is balanced, eliminates 9 Town positions
Employees are so far are increasing health insurance co-pays which will be a savings of $500,000

Town budget includes no cost of living raises other than what was already deferred from last year.

Copies of the budget are available on the website

and at the library

questions should be sent to Jeff Nutting

Q - Mason what would the deficit be?
A - Nutting the gap is about 3.5 but 3 M in practical terms

Q - Mason I have some questions for Mr Roy
A - Roy, can I bring some assistance?

Jeff Roy - 7 elementary teachers, 8 middle school, increase athletic fees, doubling extra curricular activity fees
and an early release of elementary schools one day to reduce another 4 positions.

We have cut 110 positions since 2006, it is compelling. On top of these particular cuts, we are using some one time revenue so next year will be another problem

Musical programs have been reduced, physical education is reduced
We saved FHS teachers last year with a creative change in the schedule to go from 7 periods to 6 periods. Eliminated 80 elective courses and 4 physical ed teachers; phys ed requirements were met via athletic participation or other outside requirements.

We have been a high performing district due to the total program we offered which is now changed

Q - McGann - did you say you offer a program that is not mandated?
A - Roy - no, we offer programs that are required.
A - Sabolinski - I think that may have been in the discussion about full-day versus half-day, full day is not mandated. This has been discussed in regards to other communities where they have fee income but the program is different from what we do.

Note - the analysis of the full versus half-day was written up earlier

Q - Whalen - going with increases of fees reduces the participation, so only those with the wherewithal are getting the best of the education
Q - Roy - there is no question that on the School Committee we do not like imposing fees, but given the choice of cutting programs or imposing fees is tough. Last night, the option to eliminate the athletic program would save us $300,000. But if we do so, we would actually need to add back the 4 PE teachers at around $200,000 so our net savings would only be $100,000. Many students would say that is what keep them in school. There was no sentiment to eliminate athletics. In order to save positions, we need to increase fees. We try to accommodate where ever we can.

Q - Mason - What is the fee structure?
A - Roy - right now, the athletic fee is $125 per sport per student; the proposed tier fee structure would be $175 for track, $200 for all others, except for hockey which would be $400.

Q - Mason - what would the cuts due to class size?
A - Sabolinski - Class sizes would increase, (numbers to be added)

Q - Mason - what is the impact to the teachers and students
A - Sabolisnki - additional work, students at the edge will be the first to suffer as it gets increasingly hard to reach all of them with one-to-one attention in a larger class size.
A - Roy - We have students who are getting in to the top colleges because we prepare them well! Universally, we hear that they are well prepared for that experience. We would like to see this experience for every student from kindergarten on up!

Q - Zollo - how many teachers have decreased in the recent past?
A - Roy - over 8 years, 100 teachers cut, with 1000 more students in the same period

Q - how many town positions
Q - Nutting - from 303 to 253

Chart from School Budget presentation earlier this year provides some numbers
(link to be added)

Q - Mason - what percent of the total budget is salary?
A - Roy - 80%

Q - Mason - what is the percent on the Town side?
A - Nutting - not a fair comparison as we carry the debt, we have the DPW with salt and winter costs, we have positions that haven't been filled so 6 of the 9 are ones that we are not filling and cutting in this budget

3 dispatchers
1.5 clerical
.5 librarian
1 firefighter

Chief Williams
Police - My budget is 93% personnel costs
I have a double dispatch running, thousands of calls and radios transmissions are coming in
We are it for the town after 4:00, anything after hours we get. The dispatcher is able to do this.
Cut back to one dispatcher could in busy times have you talking to a machine

From 20,000 to 41,000 different incidents over the period

Q - Zollo - What is the state of Franklin?
A - Williams - We have a great town, I have seen an increase in violence, there are more people carrying weapons
I think we are playing with fire (and I don't want to steal his thunder)
there is a fear that something could happen and we are not prepared to handle it
Sending one man cars to a call doesn't cut it.
I am nervous where we are, we are down 5 officers from where we were in 2000
We have to work together as a town

Q - Zollo - is there an increase in juvenile activity?
A - In Norfolk county, we have the highest

Q - McGann - how many patrolman?
A - Williams - 28 officers, 24x7, at times there are 3 patrolmen on the 11-7 shift and that is what we had when I started

Q - Jones - last night there was discussion about cutting in the buses?
A - Roy - yes, that was one cut that I neglected to mention earlier. We have a pay to ride program, inevitably we have folks who have not signed up in the proper time frame, for those we would not be able to provide them a spot

A - we can't change a fee for anyone within a 2 mile radius for K-6

Q - Jones - none of these sound good, it affects all the parents, it affects the family life style; the bus reflects the only reasonable cut I have heard

Nutting - the Police budget was cut 250,000; Fire cut 250,000, DPW cut 300,000. These cuts occurred in my office as opposed to the public forum that the School Committee gets

Chief McCarragher - currently have open positions, no clerical support, last year funded 6.5% less than the previous year. We are looking to find people. 44% of our call volume happens back-to-back. If I have to tell you that we are in a queue, that is not good. we are trying to partner with our surrounding communities but they are having the same discussions with their selectmen etc. If we cut our second ambulance, we also cut revenue as we do get income from those service calls. Everyone says we don't have fires in Franklin but we get 20-40 of those every year.  The northern part of Franklin is growing, we are not serving them in a timely manner.

Vallee - calls are going down, I seen it on the net
McCarragher - not in Franklin, look at what they were, the inner cities. we are catching up with our growth spurt, fast forward 20 years, we didn't seen many years ago because we have new buildings, we are now seeing problems where the new equipment is going into the older houses.

We are in the opportunity business. We give every one the right opportunity

Zollo - We are talking about life and death
Roy - that's bone
Zollo - we are talking about our seniors, we are talking about our children, it can not be the same as it was 20-30 years ago. Our Town employees go above and beyond with less. I can't fathom how a reasonable person would disagree. You can get something from nothing.

Jones - I would hate to exclude Brutus, our roads are just as important

Cantoreggi - We are pretty good with dealing with the emergencies, the day to day issues are seriously short staffed, things are going to take longer and longer to get done.

five minute recess

 Franklin, MA