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Sunday, June 1, 2008
Q & A 10 - How do parents get a say on FHS cuts? Ogden, Cafasso respond (audio)
Q - Would students or parents have a chance to dialog with whomever on what cuts would be made?
A - The parents can always come to the School Committee meeting and voice their concerns. The students are unknowingly participating with the student cost selection data. There are 17 teachers with 85 classes to be cut, there is not much room for wiggle. The music cut is bad for the music students but there are also English teachers, Math teachers, Science teachers, physical education, etc. These are bad choices. There are no good choices with the override. Parents need to express their choices.
A - Cafasso, to re-inforce that participation is open and looked for, if you have ideas we are looking for them. The meetings are open. Citizen comments are always on the agenda. Our email addresses are available.
Time: 6 minutes, 22 seconds
Q & A 9 - Arlington plan? Feeley responds (audio)
Q - What about something like the Arlington plan? Do you think it would be wise to do that?
A - Feeley, a committee is being formed now that would look at that process.
Time: 1 minute, 32 seconds
Q & A 8 - Ogden, Whalen also respond (audio)
A - Ogden, we are looking for other sources. The parent groups provide funding each year. The Franklin Education Foundation contributes approx. $20,000 per year. Working with a lawyer to set up an endowment. Looking at advertising revenue.
A - Whalen, he is a financial analyst by trade, it is impossible to continue to delivery high quality services at the low tax rate. Goal would be more near the median and not near the bottom.
Time: 3 minutes, 22 seconds
Q & A 8 - Will there be continuous overrides? Nutting (audio)
Q - Father comes back appreciating the comment on the chorus. If there is a scale, where are we on the scale? Will there be continuous overrides? And we haven't even talked about the high school problem.
A - Nutting, Franklin gives a high quality service for a low cost. By any standard, we provide more or better service for less dollars. Overrides will not go away. Until the state and the citizens decide that there needs to be another way, it won't go away but it will not be every year. Most of the requirements are out of our control. Regionalization is an option but it will take a lot of pain.
Time: 4 minutes, 25 seconds
Q & A - Student comment on cutting Chorus (audio)
Comment from a high school student regarding cut of chorus at the high school.
Time: 1 minute, 33 seconds
Q & A 7 - How does the facility consolidation effect the school budget? Feeley (audio)
Q - Would like to ask the Council to address the consolidation of facilities? In a time when the schools are in need, taking the money away from the schools.
A - Feeley, the Council took the corresponding dollars and responsibility (associated expenses) were taken away at the same time.
Time: 1 minute, 41 seconds
Q & A 6 - "emergency repair and replacement fund" Nutting, Doak, Zollo respond (audio)
Q - What about the "emergency repair and replacement fund"? Can we dip into that?
A - Nutting, there is a minimal cost to the interest. The overall factor is that 4M on an annual budget of 100M is not a lot of cushion. It is not a lot of money in a savings account for a good business. it is similar to our debt. Our debt is going down next year to less than 3%. we are looking to continually reinvest an appropriate amount over time.
A - Doak, over the years from the power plant settlement we have benefited that we did not need to use the money for which it had been set aside to mitigate the power plant.
A - Zollo, to address another myth, 4500-5000 per year in taxes, three children in school, the Zollos are receiving a subsidy for the school education. K-12, would amount to a 275,000 subsidy. You never pay the town back to pay for your children to go through the school system. The value that the average citizen receives is great.
Time: 6 minutes, 47 seconds
Q & A 5 - replace older teachers with younger ones? Nutting, Ogden respond (audio)
Q - Teacher rates have a greater disparity, any chance of getting some of the older teachers to leave and replaced with younger less experienced teachers?
A - Nutting, no, that kind of program is authorized at the state level. It has been done twice in the last twenty years.
A - Ogden, new teachers are cheaper overall early on but year to year are more expensive
Time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds
Q & A 4 - Other revenue sources? Closing Davis Thayer? Nutting, Ogden respond (audio)
Q & A 3 - responses continued by Doak, Cafasso (audio)
A - Doak, picking up on another comment to increase the revenues. We get get a good deal from the industrial and retail establishments. We have tried to foster commercial and industrial growth with smart policies. Council has encouraged good growth over the years and is looking to continue that so the residential taxpayers don't take the whole burden.
A - Cafasso, the school department has made cuts over the years to protect the classroom and to be as efficient as possible.
Time: 3 minutes, 15 seconds
For reference, the Franklin School Departments budget reductions over the years from 2002 to 2009 can be found here
Q & A 3 - Zollo adds his response, tackling 2 myths (audio)
A - Zollo, there are certain myths about town government. There is an unrealistic expectation that costs will not go up over time under normal circumstances. The town is the same situation as the schools. The Police, Fire and DPW are underfunded. We are getting a great deal. If we didn't build the Senior Center and the Fire Station we would not be in this situation. That is incorrect. Those are capital expenses and can't be used to cover the operational expenses. There are many myths that are getting perpetuated and we need to correct them.
Time: 4 minutes, 11 seconds
Q & A 3 - Are we looking at all expenses; Ogden replies (audio
Q - Been here for 4 years, 3 kids in school, came here because of the schools. If we have the override, I can afford to pay it because I have 3 kids. But are we looking at all the other expenses. Are we in line? Are we looking to increase revenues?
A - Ogden, speaking to the cost control measures mentions the teacher contract with a 3-year settlement for 6% in a time when other contracts were coming at 9-11%. They negotiate long term energy contracts. They are looking at other kinds of expenses like that to leverage and reduce costs.
Time: 5 minutes, 46 seconds
Q & A 2 - Question on next year, Roy, Nutting respond (audio)
Q - Brett Feldman, Finance Committee member but speaking on his own behalf. Can you explain what next year will look like after the override if it passes?
A - Jeff Roy, we have settled contracts and will probably be in the 3-4 million increase range which is what we were looking for this year.
A - Nutting, suggesting that this is the bottom of this fiscal scenario we should be in a better position next year. Excise tax and other revenue sources declined.
Time: 3 minutes, 42 seconds
Q & A 1 - School Foundation budget, Ogden, Nutting respond (audio)
Q - Franklin is about 10-15% above the state recommended or 'foundation' budget. Can you explain the number?
A - Ogden, the foundation amount is the minimum amount that the town can contribute to the schools. If the town doesn't contribute the state minimum, there are penalties assessed by the state.
A - Nutting, if a town strives to meet the minimum, the education will be suffering, you won't be getting a quality education. Over the last 15 years the state has picked up a greater portion of the school expense, so the town tax payers have benefited from the state funding.
Time: 6 minutes, 11 seconds
For reference on the historical contribution of Franklin to the school budget view this chart
"Will you take your tools and tear down some more walls?"
Addressing his daughter, Alicia Mary Roy, in front of a crowd of hundreds of parents, teachers, and friends of the graduating Class of 2008, School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy told her, "I still remember the first day I saw you."
He dreamed of a day like yesterday, he said.
"Your mother and I are blessed, and I don't think there's a parent in this room who doesn't feel the same" about their child, Roy said in his opening remarks at Franklin High School commencement last night.
Roy, like Superintendent Wayne Ogden and Franklin High School Principal Pamela A. Gould, then told about 370 graduating seniors what the world was like in days past.
Roy joked that his mother likes to remind him he was born in the middle of an "I Love Lucy" show in 1961, and becoming serious, told students they came into the world when the Berlin Wall came down, in 1989.
"The Berlin Wall, an iconic symbol of oppression... that wall stood a very long time, divided families, a city, and a world," said Roy, "but even impenetrable obstructions could not last."
The Berlin Wall attracted no one, it simply repelled, he said.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.