Tuesday, July 15, 2008

live update - audit update

Miriam Goodman talking about the Town Audit Report and impacts for the school department.

Town Comptroller will make the ledger entry for the School Department
The process currently is for the request to go from Miriam's office to the Comptroller's Office. This has been in place for some time (since last year). It continues under her role now. It will continue under her control.

The auditors findings are for the systematic access to be removed. That will not happen right away but should happen to be in compliance with the audit. The Town controls that overall access.

Overall the findings pertaining to the school department are minor. Amount was against this line item instead of that line item. Meeting to adjust as required to be in compliance going forward.

school committee - Live update

Approx $251,871 unencumbered at this time against the FY 08 budget. Some minor bills are still outstanding and normally will appear to be used against this amount.

Motion to accept line item transfers for FY 08 financial report.

Underbudgeted in classroom teachers, health insurance, maintenance (buildings and grounds and security), curriculum development...

Overbudgeted in substitutes, library media, guidance councilors, athletics...

Fee structure for community use of school facilities was underfunded for the use provided this year. This is on the agenda for discussion later.

Motion approved

School Committee meeting - live update

Miriam Goodman presents the revised budget reflecting the override adjustment and the facilities consolidation adjustment.

No questions

motion to accept the FY09 budget in total for $49,940,242
motion passed

School Committee - Live update

Citizens comment

Mr Hunter - representing Brick School Assoc
checks on agenda appear to be in violation of the targeted gift policy

Asst Supt Sabolinksi
request to modify the agenda, the two checks in question did get on the agenda without prior review of Supt Ogden or herself and should be removed. They do not meet the guidelines of the new policy on targeted gifts and will be returned. The principals have been notified.

In the News - Senior Center, Concerts, Walgreens

Openings at Franklin senior center program

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

The Supportive Day Program at the Franklin Senior Center is accepting new clients.


A not-so-common concert series

By Tanya Girgenrath/Daily News correspondent

For most, Wednesday is known as "hump day" - that is, unless you are spending the summer in Franklin.


Walgreens developers give Planning Board overview

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

A developer last night gave the Planning Board an overview of its plan to develop a Walgreens pharmacy at the site of former Four Corners School.


School Committee meeting 7/15/08 - agenda

Franklin School Committee Meeting
July 15, 2008
Municipal Building – Council Chambers
7:00 P.M.


Call to order Mr. Roy
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence

Routine Business
• Citizen’s Comments
• Review of Agenda
• Minutes:
I recommend approval of the minutes from the June 24, 2008 School Committee Meeting.
• Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
• Payroll Ms. Armenio
• FHS Student Representatives
• Correspondence:
Budget to Actual


Discussion Only Items
  • Review Budget spreadsheets for $49,940,242 FY09 Budget
  • FY08 End of Year Financial Status
  • Summary of Audit Implementation of Recommendations
  • Late Bus Options
  • Policy KF / Building Use 1st Reading
  • Superintendent Evaluation Process

Action Items
  • I recommend budget transfers as detailed on the attached memo.
  • I recommend acceptance of Action Plan to implement FY07 audit recommendations.
  • I recommend acceptance of the donation of paperback books from Rose Cafasso for the Oak Street Elementary School.
  • I recommend acceptance of six checks totaling $4,800.00 from the Horace Mann PCC for the HM In-house Enrichment program.
  • I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,000.00 from the Parmenter PCC for supplies for the Parmenter Elementary School.
  • Based on School Committee policy IJOAB/ Extended Field Trips, the revised proposal for the band trip to Disney World in April 2009 is not in compliance with district policy so I am unable to recommend approval.
  • I recommend declaring the Remington Middle School inventory list as surplus.

Information Matters:
• Superintendent’s Report
a. Ed Nets Update
b. Pay to Ride Update
c. School Choice / Historical Data
d. Annual Report
• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
• School Committee Liaison Reports

New Business:
• To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Executive Session
• Contractual Negotiations


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Franklin Matters: Recap of Week ending July 12, 2008

Another in a series of podcasts about what matters in Franklin, MA. This session covers the Town Council meeting I missed, the Milford Daily News articles on the Arlington Plan and the Brick classroom status. It also looks out to the upcoming School Committee meeting on July 15th.

Time: 11 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes

Intro - This is Steve Sherlock with another in a series of podcasts for Franklin Matters.

In this session we’ll recap the Town Council meeting, the Arlington plan, the upcoming School Committee meeting, and topics on its agenda including the audit report and Brick classroom status, and finally the new town web site

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I missed the Town Council meeting this week due to the scheduling problem I already wrote about. I had recorded Jeff and Chris talking about the first meeting in July being the second weds (as it normally is) but for some reason the official schedule (resolution 07-46) said the first meeting is 7/16.

Vallee made a fool of himself again. After declining to participate in any of the override information sessions, he opens discussion on looking to raid the stabilization fund for a million dollars to save some of the teacher layoffs. He was lucky to get enough votes to get it on the agenda. 4 councilors missed that meeting and he only needed a simple majority to get the agenda item. He had two votes, his and McGanns until Feeley put his in to put it on the agenda but with full disclosure that he would appreciate a good discussion on it but could not support it. With 3 of the 5 present he had a simple majority, with all nine present last Wednesday, he did not stand a chance.

Instead of simply withdrawing his motion, he claimed that since no one from the schools were there to support it, he would withdraw it. What a cheap shot? Generates a sound bite with no recourse.

I am beginning to wonder what value he does add to the council? He came back supposedly to lend his expertise. He has shown no leadership. He has shown no expertise in solving problems. He has shown time and again that he might be better off saying nothing.

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The Arlington plan was reviewed on Thursday night with the special Financial planning committee. Arlington does differ from Franklin in a number of ways. They do have considerably less commercial development within their tax base.

They would not have kept the promise of their five year plan without an unexpected windfall increase of state funds. Read the article in the Milford Daily news. Our planning committee will have their work cut out for them to try and replicate the Arlington plan for Franklin.

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The school committee does meet this Tuesday July 15th. The agenda is not yet posted for review but that usually is there late Monday so it is still early.

The school dept should be going to the town council meeting on the 23rd to provide an update on the forensic audit. That should be an interesting meeting. New Finance Administrator Miriam Goodman, Superintendent Wayne Ogden, Chairman Jeff Roy, and others from the committee are likely to attend.

The Brick situation remains unresolved. The Milford Daily News reports in Sunday’s edition of the BSA presence at this coming meeting.

Several councilors are quoted in favor of keeping it open but respectful that the decision is in the School Committees hands.

This is a tough choice. The study showed that in sq foot terms, it was the most expensive classroom to operate in the district. The last school committee Asst Supt Sabolinski talked about the fact that it can’t service special needs children in the classroom.

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New town web site turned on this weekLost some links to the prior meeting agendas. The minutes for the meetings in 2008 up thru May 7th are available but nothing prior to that yet.

The look and layout is cleaner. It will take some getting used to getting aroundWhat do you think of it?

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This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional textual information, please visit Franklinmatters.blogspot.com/

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

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

In the News - McGann Jr, Brick, Gas prices

The Milford Daily News has three articles of interest or reference to Franklin today.

Joseph McGann Jr. hasn't slowed down much since nailing two
state championships in wrestling at Franklin High School and a national title at
Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., in 2001.After wrestling for North Carolina
State, McGann kept a low profile, training in Eastern-style fighting at United
States Mixed Martial Arts in Bellingham, under Ultimate Fighting Championship
professional Jorge Rivera.

Read the full article here

Franklin -
Supporters of the Red Brick School are continuing their
efforts to keep the historically distinctive building open for classes this
year.Members of Brick School Association plan to "have a very visible presence''
at the School Committee's July 15 meeting, said association treasurer Herbert
Hunter. "We'll certainly provide plenty of input,'' Hunter said. The group is
not officially part of that meeting's agenda.The School Committee's Subcommittee
on Building Use has said it will likely recommend declaring the Red Brick as
surplus and return it the town, essentially ending the building's standing as a
one-room red brick school in continuous operation, recognized by the National
Historic Register. The School Department has announced there is no money in its
budget to continue running a kindergarten class there. About 1,000 residents
celebrated the school's 175th anniversary this June, said Deborah Pellegri, town
clerk and Brick School Association member.

Read the full article here

Franklin -

In Franklin, developer John Marini is mixing downtown
apartments with shops and office space, all a stone's throw from a downtown
commuter rail stop. Westborough's Bay State Commons, which opened last year,
combines everything from a Roche Brothers supermarket to 44 luxury

Read the full article here

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Social Networking Site - Wicked Local

WICKED LOCAL: Social networking comes to New England sites GateHouse Media New England has entered into an agreement with TownConnect to introduce family-based social networking and a variety of other community-building tools on GateHouse’s 159 Wicked Local town web sites in Massachusetts.

Through the co-branded Wicked Local People sites, residents of the 159 eastern Massachusetts communities served by GateHouse newspapers can participate in a free, secure, private network and easily organize online communities of friends, neighbors and extended families; coordinate schedules; share photos and files; and connect families, friends, and neighbors.

“When we launched the Wicked Local network last fall, we wanted to combine professional journalism, lots of community information, and lots of opportunities for residents to interact with us and with each other,” said Kirk Davis, president of GateHouse Media New England. “Working with TownConnect allows us to take that interaction to the next level - immediately.”
Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

If you have followed our web 2.0 series, you should have some idea of what this site can do. I did sign up but don't have the time just now to continue to fill out the info required. There were about 20 or so other Franklin folks to do so when I signed up. It will need to have more to be worthwhile.

"Each worked really hard"

Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 12:57 AM


The newly formed Financial Planning Committee spent most of its second meeting getting details from Arlington Deputy Town Manager Nancy Galkowski about the $6 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override her community passed in 2005 with the promise of not asking for another for five years.

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting invited Galkowski because Franklin town leaders had expressed interest in proposing a similar scenario in the future: asking residents to approve a sizable override and not seeking another for an established number of years.

"We're completely different than Franklin," Galkowski told the group, which last night included Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche, Finance Committee member Rebecca Cameron, School Committee members Matt Kelly and Roberta Trahan, Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett, and resident Douglas Hardesty.

Aside from a strip of Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington has a negligible commercial base, she said, particularly compared with Franklin.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Schedule error persists

If you missed the meeting last night, you may not be alone. I also missed it due to a persistent schedule error. Both the old town web site and the new one contain the resolution 07-46 with the approved schedule of Town Council meetings for 2008. Both schedules show meetings on the 16th and not the 9th.

Oh well.

Schedule of Town Council meetings:

Oh by the way, there is a new look to the Town web site. Check it out!

"a bit disingenuous"

Posted Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:56 PM


Displeased that school officials did not rally behind his idea to give schools $1 million from the town's stabilization account, Councilor Robert Vallee withdrew the proposal last night.

"It appears it's not important enough of an issue for them to get involved in, so, as far as I'm concerned, the case is closed," Vallee said.

School Committee members, several of whom have previously stated taking stabilization funds is unsound fiscal practice but would still accept the money, did not attend the meeting, but heard Vallee's comments as they watched the televised meeting at home.

Three committee members, Cora Armenio, Roberta Trahan, and Susan Rohrbach, jumped in their cars and rushed to Town Hall to respond to Vallee's comments, which they said they felt were inaccurate and unfair.

A bit breathless from the mad dash to Town Hall, Armenio explained that tapping into the stabilization account is "fiscally irresponsible," and would still leave 22 teachers laid off. The School Committee members spoke outside the doors of Town Council chambers because the topic and the citizens comments portions of the meeting were closed.

"I find it a personal affront to say we do not care," Armenio said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where in Franklin? Answer #50

Where in Franklin? Answer #50, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Maybe due to vacations, we did not get an answer to picture #50.

So getting back into the swing of things (after some of my own vacation), here the answer to #50 was found on Dean Ave with the blue shuttered/white clapboard building belonging to the Franklin Lumber Co.

Stay tuned for the next opportunity.

"three options for its future"

Posted Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:33 PM


There yet may be a ray of hope for proponents of keeping an active classroom at the historic Red Brick School, though it appears likely the School Department will hand the building to the town.

Last night, the School Committee's Subcommittee on Building Use decided to invite Town Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting and School Superintendent Wayne Ogden to its Aug. 12 meeting to solicit input regarding the school's future, rather than voting to recommend school officials give the brick school to the town.

"To be fair to everyone, we should ask for input," said Roberta Trahan, a School Committee and subcommittee member.

"I've given a lot of thought to this. It's been a tough situation, and I had hoped the community" could reach an agreement on what to do with the Brick School this year, said Trahan.

Trahan outlined three options for its future: using the building for something else, such a learning center or museum; treating it as surplus and giving it back to the town; or waiving the School Committee's new policy prohibiting targeted gifts (for operational costs) to keep it open as a school.

The subcommittee hopes to come up with a recommendation for the School Committee at its Aug. 12 meeting (at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building), said School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meeting schedule

During the last Town Council meeting, the talk of the "next" meeting was that it was going to be July 9th; the second Wednesday. Apparently, neither Chris Feeley nor Jeff Nutting had their real schedule handy at the time or recalled that the first meeting this month is actually July 16th. I carried forward that error in my reporting (and podcast) until I finally checked the Town website to find out otherwise.

School Committee meeting - 7/15/08 7:00 PM
Town Council meeting - 7/16/08 7:00 PM