Showing posts with label citizens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label citizens. Show all posts

Friday, July 7, 2023

Going forward from FY 2024, what is sustainable? (audio)

FM #1020 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 1020 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the conversation with Town Administrator Jamie Hellen, Town Council Chair Tom Mercer, School Superintendent Lucas Giguere, and School Committee Chair Denise Spencer. 

We had our conversation at the Municipal Building on Tuesday June 27,2023. Tom Mercer joined via Zoom.  

Now that the major FY 2024 budget decisions are behind us, how we will go forward becomes the topic. The next steps start with the Joint Budget Subcommittee meeting scheduled for Aug 2. 

Over the next several months, lots of conversations, and planning discussion should result in a plan to go forward that the ad-hoc residents committee can then spread the word on for a potential override decision by the Town.

The conversation runs about 54 minutes. Let’s listen to the recording of the way forward discussion on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Audio file ->


Town FY 2024 budget page -> 

School FY 2024 budget information -> 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit or

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!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

Going forward from FY 2024, what is sustainable? (audio)
Going forward from FY 2024, what is sustainable? (audio)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Franklin Issue on the 2020 'Watch List': Citizen Engagement

The four issues on the watch list recently posted really boil down to two general buckets of issues: 

1 - the Town budget - facing a possible override along with increases in both water/sewer rates and trash/recycling along with intro of another fee for stormwater (with PFAS as a 'sleeper' cost to be addressed)
2 - the multiple school district issues covered in the two posts; the school budget, Davis Thayer, and the 'paused' school start time issue

The third issue I'll raise is also one of the possible solution areas.

The Town Administration and School District can proceed working with the Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee and other departments in the Franklin government on our behalf, as we elected them to do, or we, the residents and voters, can step away from Facebook, and truly get involved to do something.

As part of the Town Council goals and objectives, there are proposals for Civic Engagement efforts. 
Civic Engagement (NEW) 
● Research the potential for a “Citizen’s Academy” course for citizens
● Research the ICMA Citizen Satisfaction Survey through the National Citizen Survey and National Research Council
● Continue to update and reinvent the Town website, social media accounts, consider implementing a TOF podcast (Soundcloud/ Anchor) and develop consistent best practices organization-wide
● Expand E-Permitting and online payment options
Some of these are more 'service' related than 'engagement' related and hence while this is good, I do not think it goes far enough. I also understand, and fully respect, that the Town as a government entity can only do so much. We, as residents and voters, need to step up to make this "government of the people, by the people, for the people" work for us.

I also will not claim to have all the answers. I have learned and continue to learn more about Franklin and its government every day. How we can successfully reach the voters to get them to take action on their civic duties (i.e. vote for one, but that is only one duty) is an answer I am still looking for.

If you have ideas, I am open to listen. My contact info is available; reach out, let me know you want to talk, and I'll make time to do so.

In the Town Council goals and objective doc is a listing of key presentations scheduled or being scheduled for future Town Council meetings. If one or more of these topics interests you, put a mark on your calendar accordingly.

Presentations/Discussions (tentatively/confirmed scheduled dates) 
● Community Preservation Act - February 5 (scheduled)
● Housing Authority w/ Lisa Audette - February 12th (confirmed)
● Transitional Assistance - February 12th (confirmed)
● Economic Profile Study -- March/April (pending delivery of final report)
● MECC Regional Dispatch -- May 6th 2020 (confirmed)
● Department Presentations: Land Use & Permitting Departments -- June 2020
● Master Plan midway Update -- June/July 2020
● Charter Review Discussion - Late 2020

What can you do in the meantime? 

  • Get to a meeting, or watch via Comcast/Verizon, or the streaming feed via Franklin TV
  • Talk with our Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee, School Superintendent Sara Ahern, and Town Administrator Jamie Hellen
  • Have a civil conversation about one or more of these issues; together we can, and must, find a solution that works for us
The full goals and objectives doc can be found on the Town of Franklin page

Franklin Issues on the 2020 'Watch List'
  • School District Issues
  • Multiple Fiscal Challenges
  • School Start Time
  • New PFAS Regulations Proposed

the future of Franklin remains with the Franklin voters who can be active or passive
the future of Franklin remains with the Franklin voters who can become active or remain passive

Friday, May 3, 2019

Senate President Karen Spilka Appoints Three Members to Citizens Commission

Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) appointed three members to serve on a newly-created Citizens Commission to advocate for a potential constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United, with the goal of curtailing corporate political donations.

"Big money has been shown to have a corrupting influence in our politics, and I am excited to see the work of the new Citizens Commission get underway," said Senate President Spilka. "These three individuals are experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated to public service. I have every confidence they will ably advocate for Massachusetts' interests when it comes to the regulation of Citizens United."

Noval Alexander serves on the Framingham School Committee and Framingham School Building Committee. He is a substitute teacher in the towns of Needham, Wellesley and Natick. Alexander is a decorated retired Army veteran who served 25 years in the Army Reserves and two tours of Active Duty.

Jay Marsden serves as Chair of the Holliston Board of Selectmen. He is an estate planning lawyer at Marsden Law P.C. and works as a financial planner at Solares Hill Advisors.

Costas Panagopoulos is a Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University. He previously directed the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy at Fordham University.

Massachusetts is the first state to create a Citizens Commission. Appointments were made by Senate President Spilka, Governor Charles Baker, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Secretary of State William Galvin. The application process was public and on a website created by the Governor's office.

All appointees to the Citizens Commission serve on a voluntary basis without compensation. A report with recommendations for constitutional amendments is due by December 31, 2019.

A 2018 ballot measure, which passed with 71.4% of the vote, created the non-partisan, 15-member commission.

Visit the Citizens Commission web page for additional updates

Visit the Citizens Commission web page
Visit the Citizens Commission web page

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Franklin Town Government 101 - Jan 27

What makes our town government tick? How can you have your voice heard? How can you get involved? What are the big challenges facing town government this year?

Come to Franklin Town Government 101 to find answers to some of these questions!

WHEN: Saturday, January 27  10 AM to noon (snow date, if library closes, Feb. 3)
WHERE: Franklin Public Library, 118 Main St., Franklin, MA (ground floor meeting room)


10:00 AM Welcome and Introductions

10:10 AM Government and the Potential to do Good
– Dr. Robert Krim, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Framingham State University. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Krim is the Founder and Executive Director of the Boston Management Consortium, a partnership between the City of Boston and the Greater Boston management training and organizational development community. This partnership helped the City to be innovative and efficient and, in particular, helped lower the homicide rate by 50%.

10:40 AM Town and State
– Franklin State Rep. Jeff Roy has previously held positions on the Franklin School Committee and Town Council. He will discuss the rewards (and perils) of getting involved in town government. He will also discuss some of the lessons he has learned about municipal government, as well as providing some perspectives on how state policies and funding help (and sometimes complicate) town government.

11:10 AM Franklin 2018 - the Challenges Ahead 
– a conversation and question and answer period with Town Council representative Tom Mercer and School Committee member Denise Schultz, moderated by Steve Sherlock of Franklin Matters.

12:00 Adjourn

Franklin Town Government 101 is sponsored by Franklin in Focus, a citizens’ group supporting more transparent and effective government in Franklin.

Franklin Town Government 101 - Jan 27
Franklin Town Government 101 - Jan 27

You can view the flyer below or here

Friday, January 12, 2018

In the News: Session on how government works scheduled; NationalGrid changing rate request

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"A small group of dedicated residents is holding a community meeting they’re calling “Franklin Town Government 101.” 
The goal of the get-together is to field questions about how local government ticks, how residents can access more information, and how to have their voices heard. 
The first of what is expected to be multiple meetings will occur on Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Franklin Public Library, with a snow date of Feb. 3. 
Co-organizer and father of newly-elected town council member Eamon Earls, Alan Earls, said he’s not looking to kick up dust with town officials, but rather hopes to further unite them with their residents. 
“We don’t want it to be an ‘us versus them’ thing at all,” he said. “I realize (town officials) also have a really big challenge in working with the town, because many of us don’t know a lot of what happens, and how it works.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"National Grid will seek a smaller rate hike in Massachusetts than it originally requested, the utility company said Thursday, citing the benefit of the recent federal tax reform bill. 
The company announced that it will reduce its proposed rate hike for Bay Staters by $36 million -- from a total increase of $87 million to $51 million --due to unexpected savings the company is now expecting to see as a result of the federal corporate tax rate dropping from 35 percent to 21 percent. 
“We are committed to ensuring that the tax savings of the legislation are fully realized and are used to help our customers in their energy bills,” Cordi O’Hara, president and COO of National Grid in Massachusetts, said in a statement. “We’ll continue to seek opportunities to provide this benefit to all of our customers.” 
National Grid said it does not yet know exactly how the changed proposed rates will affect customers’ bills, but did say the change will “result in smaller impacts than originally proposed and will vary across rate classes and customer usage.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"so many people don’t understand the way government works"

As Franklin gets to prepare for the town election this November, Franklin Matters will be sharing some of the basic information to help you cast informed votes. Interviews with the candidates are being scheduled. The results of those will be published here. Information on each of the committee and boards will be shared: what is their scope of operation? what do they do?

And coincidentally, in this article from the Milford Daily News (MDN), there is a movement afoot to have more education on civics. How does our government work? What does the Federal government do that the State doesn't? How does the State affect directly or indirectly Franklin?

"Recent studies show many Americans would struggle to pass a U.S. citizenship test, an exam that many states are adopting as a high school graduation requirement. 
Civics in the classroom 
High school students in 23 states need to pass a civics test before graduating, and there’s a proposal to bring the same requirement to Massachusetts. 
The Civics Education Initiative, a project of the Arizona-based nonprofit Joe Foss Institute, calls for high schools to require that students pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics taken directly from the United States Citizenship Civics Test, the exam that immigrants must pass when applying for American citizenship."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

There is also a sample US Citizenship test linked to in the MDN article 

The Downtown Improvement Project was the result of Federal fund administered by the State
and designed in collaboration with Franklin government and community participation

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ballot Question 6 – Resolution on Amendment to U.S. Constitution - Not Binding

Franklin voters will see six ballot questions at the November 4th State Election. The first four ballot questions are the same for all Massachusetts voters. The 5th and 6th questions are unique to Franklin.


The ballot question asks essentially whether your State Representative should be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution, stating that the rights protected under the United States Constitution belong to natural persons only, not corporations. The resolution would also indicate that states may place limits on political contributions and political spending. This would be in response to the United States Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 558 U.S. ____ (2010), a case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by corporations. In the Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the government may not keep corporations from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. It ruled that corporations, as virtual persons, have the same free speech rights as living, breathing persons. The ballot question seeks support for resolution to overturn the Citizens United decision by
amending the United States Constitution. 
The question appears on the Franklin ballot under Article XIX of the Massachusetts
Constitution, Part I and M.G.L. c. 53, section 19. Under the Massachusetts Constitution, the people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to give instructions to their
representatives on public policy matters. Over the summer, residents of the 10th Norfolk
District signed petitions, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 53, section 19, asking that the ballot question below be submitted to the voters in this community.

***          ***         ***

Question 6 is Not Binding

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirming that 1) rights protected under the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only and 2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and political spending?
***           ***        ***

What does it mean by saying this is "not binding"?
The vote is form informational purposes and the representative (Jeff Roy) will take the information into consideration when he casts his vote in the MA House. He is not bound to vote according to the results of the question.

The information contained here can also be downloaded in a PDF format for printing here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Franklin Public Forum - Sep 22

Hello Steve, 
Please add to events on Franklin Matters the following public forum. On Monday September 22nd 730 pm at Franklin H.S. lecture hall will host Concord attorney Jeffrey Clements. He is a co-founder of Free Speech for Free People a nonpartisan campaign to reverse Citizens United. He is Author of Corporations Are Not People Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations. 
He will be speaking about the need for campaign finance reform. Eighteen districts will be voting on this issue in November including Franklin.  
Thank you,  
Christine Manns

For more about the Jeff Clements visit his page here

For more about the 2014 edition of the book

For more about "Free Speech for Free People" 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Live reporting - Citizens Committee


Franklin Advisory Committee (Citizens’ Committee)

folks don't appreciate the work required to sit in the Council chairs
a number of us volunteered to help in anyway we could

many years ago Franklin did have an advisory committee

new scope = "to solicit, encourage and promote quality development that is financially beneficial and aesthetically complimentary to the community"

committee sized to be from 5 to 9 members appointed by the Town Council
would be looking to add a couple of members

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Citizens Committee" statement

As read by Judith Pfeffer, Town Councilor and one of three councilors on the Citizens Committee (half the total committee membership).

As an appointed member of the Citizens Committee, I have a statement on behalf of the Citizens Committee as regards the 150 Emmons Street property. The Citizens committee was formed basically to "encourage quality, visually pleasing, financially enhancing economic development for the benefit of our community. Projects that the Citizens Committee, to date, have impacted include:

  • Dump (recycling center) improvements
  • Acquisition efforts in land purchase from state, property next to dump
  • Dean College train station building improvements
  • Cooks Farm building project
  • Cleaning/maintenance of down town central business district 

The Citizen's Committee's position relative to the disposition of the old town hall are as follows: 
1. The site, bordered by two main arterial roadways, is better suited for commercial development, as part of an enhanced central business district and a revenue producing property than another town-owned, marginally/poorly maintained, economic drain on town resources 
2. The curb cuts should be done for the property while the road project is being done, so the openings will not have to be redone after the new road has been completed. 
3. Revenue from the sale of the site, could be used to construct a first class facility for the Recreation Department, and would allow for expansion of its' many programs, particularly those which have been downsized by the schools (arts, music, etc.) For years the Recreation Department has been moved from one site to another and is deserving of a facility that will serve Franklin, and its children, for years to come ... Rec dept. served 5700 kids in 2013, over 4000 in sports programs. 
4. The estimated cost alluded to in a prior meeting of one million dollars for retaining, re-constructing, and developing the old town hall site into a Cultural Center, not to mention the annual cost of maintaining said cultural center, in view of the anticipated costs of the new school, road improvement program and questionable economy makes no economic
5. Suggestions that the site is appropriate for a park, although well intentioned, is not practical for the following reasons: (1) the town owns, and maintains an underutilized site less than a mile away (Town Common); (2) the loss of revenue from both the sale and future taxes is economically unsound; (3) the town's history of property maintenance is abysmal, at best, and unlikely to improve under this proposal; (4) it is likely that the use of any park at that site would serve, primarily, the students of the college that surround it.  
Economic Development at this site: (1) will provide revenue for a building for Recreation Dept.; (2) The town, through the permitting process, will have input into any proposed development at the site, assuring the development is aesthetically appropriate and contributes to the "gateway"
initiatives under discussion; (3) As alluded to above, the town's recent history of owning and maintaining property, does not lead one to think adding to the current burden is either logical or prudent; this is one of sites referred to as "seedy" in the Globe's description of Franklin! 
6. There needs to be an ongoing blending of public-private development. The reconstruction of the central business district roadways will be a huge contribution to any revitalizing effort; the private sector needs to be encouraged to participate.
7. The Citizens Committee strongly recommends that a "REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST" be initiated. Responses to this Request will be reviewed, discussed with and between the Council and brought before the Public. This will insure that this site will continue to
be on the forefront. The Request for Expression process will take months, and the follow-up RFP will take additional months. Waiting for the next few years to make a decision is not in the Town's best economic interest.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Citizen's Committee scope creep?

The Town Council meeting scheduled for Weds Sep 11th has an item to add the responsibility for watching over the condition of the Franklin/Dean Train Station to the Citizens Committee

WHEREAS, the Citizen Committee was created by the Town Council to allow for participation by the citizens to provide valuable input in critical areas; and 
WHEREAS, the Citizen Committee has expressed concern with the current condition of the Downtown train station where the train station is a gateway to our community. 
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Town Council of the Town of Franklin requests the Citizen Committee and Town Administrator investigate what steps are needed to ensure that the station and the surrounding parking lot are kept in good repair. 
This resolution shall become effective according to the provisions of the Town of Franklin Home Rule Charter.

I don't follow this one.

Milford Daily News had an article in August where the Chair of the Citizens Committee referred to the work being done on the station as it "looks like the South Bronx".

The work was completed and now the train station looks pretty good

new roof on the downtown train station

new roof, copper trim, on the recently repair train station

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Live reporting - Citizens Committee update

Larry Bennedetto

the committee was going to have a final report tonight but the committee has decided to stay in business as there are some things remaining to do

We have been working with the T on the train station, it is a mess down there and we are trying to do something with it.

I heard tonight that Jim Vallee is willing to work on the committee, so we may come back to change the membership

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Week on the Radio: "Take the Money and Run for Office"

I was behind on my audio listening having changed my routine to finish the Hunger Games trilogy of books on tape and caught up to this one on Monday's drive to work. How timely that it deals with the US Supreme Court decision on Citizens United that lead to the People's Rights Amendment.

Ira Glass and This American Life deal with this topic in their usual fashion including an interview with both Senators McCain and Feingold who were the architects of the campaign law modifications that were overturned by the Supreme Court decision. Interesting listening! And scary to think of the consequences of the last minute SuperPAC attack impacts!

What was the Citizens United decision? You can find the Wikipedia version here

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via This American Life Updates by adrianne on 4/1/12

For anyone who has ever heard the term "Washington insider" and felt outside — we are with you. So this week, we go inside the rooms where the deals get made, to the actual moment that the checks change hands — and we ask the people writing and receiving the checks what, exactly, is the money buying?

Broadcast March 31 to April 2

Things you can do from here:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Creation of a Citizen Committee

On the Town Council agenda for Weds Jan 18, 2012 is this RESOLUTION 12-04:

WHEREAS, the Town Council continues to explore ways of making improvements to our community; and

WHEREAS, the Town Council would like participation by the citizens to provide valuable input.
Now therefore, be it resolved by the Franklin Town Council that a Citizen Committee is established. Said committee shall consist of 5 to 9 members to be appointed by the Town Council. Said committee shall make recommendations to the Town council on how to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Franklin in areas including but not limited to enhancing citizen participation, aesthetics of the community, and business development, and other recommendations that the Council deems appropriate. Said committee shall make its recommendations by December, 2012. This Resolution shall become effective according to the rules and regulations of the Town of Franklin Home Rule Charter.

Would you be interested?

Sounds like it would be a short-term commitment (complete the work by Dec 2012).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee - agenda - 9/13/11

I. Call to Order and Introduction of New Attendees - including Secretary, Annette Labonte
II. Approval of Agenda
III. Approval of Minutes
IV. Report from Treasurer
V. Strategic Goals
a. Grants/Funding Update on Grant List (Marc Kaplan and Tim Newell)

Road Race Selection of Date (Special Guest: Ron Ignotz, GTTB)
b. Organizational Review of Mission

Discussion of Committee Name
c. Alliances Update on SouthWest Advisory Planning Cmte (SWAP)Meeting
d. Awareness/Outreach Consideration of informational table at October Harvest Festival in Franklin (Oct 2)

VI. Adjournment (9:00)

Additional materials for the mission statement discussion were posted here

The Rail Trail web site can be found here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Proposed Agenda for April 12, 2011
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Review & approve minutes of previous meeting
B. Make sure we have a volunteer to keep minutes of meeting

II. Report from Finance Committee
Report from Treasurer

III. Report from Grant Writing Committee
Meeting on March 31st and begin Strategic Plan
Proposed meeting on April 14th

C. We have an Eagle Scout lined up for proposed work in Forest
D. Need to Meet with EMC and Rockland Trust soon

IV. Earth Day Preparations for Beaver St. Location on April 16th
Tent, Table, Banner, Coffee, Brochures, sign up sheets, etc.
Get to Ron Clough list of volunteers

V. Report of April 23rd Road Race Committee
Discussion on progress to date and of Publicity
Agree on date and time to meet with M & M for final preps

VI. Report on Bellingham
Bellingham Lions – Ken
Politics and Fatman

VII. Unfinished Business:

VIII. New Business:

IX. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Citizens Against Waste - athletic field lights

A question came in about the lights at the athletic field:
This may not quite fit the form of question you are looking for, but we drove by the high school last night at 7 PM, and all the field lights were blazing while not a soul was there. Any idea why that would be? Seems like an awful waste of electricity.
An email from Jeff Nutting revealed:
According to Ryan Jette, a lacrosse game was scheduled to start shortly after 7 pm. The lights are on a timer an go off at 8:30 pm

If you recall last Friday, April 1, we had some typical New England spring weather with about an inch of snow before changing to rain. The fields were too wet to play so the game schedule was changed and the lights program was not.


If you have a question, please ask and we'll get an answer

The collection of questions and answers can be found here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Citizens Against Waste: Check book online

The most recent question came in from "Anonymous":
"Asking residents to identify waste before providing them modern transparency tools puts the cart before the horse; it unfairly transfers the onus of accountability onto busy taxpayers during difficult fiscal times. 
When will the Town of Franklin take steps to implement 21st century transparency, such as Worcester doing? It should be even easier for a small city to post all its expenditures online than for a large city."

As noted in the NECN story, Worcester is the first community to do this in MA.

I sent this question to Jeff Nutting who replied:
I do not know what is involved and how much time it would take but we can check it out. I will note this is an good example of how town and the school departments continue to get greater demands for services from all directions ( Federal and State laws, regulations, citizens) while we continue to shrink the staff. We try our best to accomplish all that is asked but at some point we will have to start making decisions on which requests we can accomplish and which one we will have to say no to. Clearly we must meet our legal obligations first. This means each time the Federal and State governments mandates a new program without any resources we have to divert staff time and money to meet that obligation. Just think how many hours we have spent over the last few years just on the Stormwater issue. When we start the next fiscal year in July I think we will have eliminated close to 40 municipal jobs in the last three years (maybe more). This does not count jobs eliminated in prior years. Yet folks will expect the same level of service. If you put is terms of a baseball team we would only be able to put seven players on the field to play the game.

From my own point of view, I wonder if looking at the check book is the best way to be transparent. Franklin already makes its information and budget planning process accessible. Very few folks actually participate in person at the budget hearings. These are the best times to really get the full story on what is being spent, how and why.

The budget hearings for FY 2012 will be coming soon. The School Committee has held their budget hearing and budget workshop. The Finance Committee will meet with each department to review their individual budgets line by line before the Town Council will cover the same ground (usually over two nights) and then vote on the final amount.

Stay tuned here and to the Franklin website for the schedule of budget hearings.

Financial audit of FY 2010
Management letter:

Detail document:

FY 2011 budget summary

FY 2011 budget detail

FY 2011 budget funding

The FY 2011 budget workshop was recorded and documented here

The FY 2012 budget collection can be found here

Franklin, MA

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Citizens Against Waste: Substitute pay questions

How much total pay is made to substitute teachers?
$485,509 in FY10

Our teachers are invested in being in school to work with students. They are committed to providing an exceptional educational program and they understand that includes attendance. As per the contractual bargaining agreement, a teacher may be absent from work due to illness, family illness, or for a personal day. Also a teacher may be requested to participate in a professional development program as a requirement by the district administration which necessitates absence from the classroom. When teachers are not in the classroom, substitutes are required to provide instruction to students.
This budget provide compensation for substitutes who cover day to day absences and for teachers who are on long term leaves of absence ( e.g. medical leave, maternity leave)

I was surprised to see the number of substitute people and some of the amounts are pretty high. Are teachers paid straight salary?
Substitute teachers are not paid a salary and they do not accrue benefits.

Daily rates for sub teachers are: $60/day, college students; $80/day, non-certified; $100/day, certified; $125/day for long-term sub.

How is leave handled?
When a staff member is unable to work due to a medical condition, a paid leave of absence may be requested. The request is made to the superintendent and is accompanied by the appropriate medical documentation. If all documentation is in order a leave is granted in accordance with requirements outlined in the contractual bargaining agreement.

Is excessive teachers absence accounted for?
Absences for all school personnel are recorded and accounted for by Human Resources and the Payroll Office. Attendance data is recorded and updated on the pay stub for all employees.

My thanks to Maureen Sabolinski, Superintendent of Schools, for providing the answers to these questions.

If you have a question about Franklin's budget, please use the form to ask it. I'll get you a response.

The collection of Citizens Against Waste questions can be found here

Franklin, MA