Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Live reporting - Street opening bylaw


  • Street Opening Bylaw – Gas Conversions
Doak - can we use discretion to do this instead of changing the bylaw?
Nutting - No, that is a slippery slope.

Whalen - I disagree, I think we are in unchartered waters here. The spot market for home heating and gas prices are still higher than they have been. Anything that we, the Town Council, can do to help our citizens get through this period we should.
Brutus - In an emergency, it is a formality to provide a permit where there is a gas leak. It is between the owner and the gas company (or other utlity company) to repave the street.

Whalen - they are digging up Charles River Dr, what is that for?
Brutus - Verizon is putting in FIOS there. It is permissible because of the age of the road.

Vallee - We have to protect the roads. I helped work this bylaw. It needs to be tightened.
Brutus - the builder had the option to tie in when the road was being done. Others in the development tied in at that time. It is unfortunate that he happened to buy into the property after the opportunty came and went.

Bartlett - How does a road degrade?
Brutus - good recap of the life of a road. (will do more justice with the recording of this later).

Bartlett - What did Maple St cost us?
Brutus - About $350,000 for the top, it was another about 500,000 for the water lines.

Pfeffer - how much was the overlay on Summer St?
Brutus - about $47,000 for that portion.

Zollo - How many requests of this type have come in during the past year?
Brutus - About a couple of dozen.

Vallee - I didn't think we paid that?
Brutus - no it was a betterment fee. The Councilor asked how much it cost and it did cost that amount. We did not pay it.

Live reporting - Town Council - 9/3/08

Councilors Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, and Zollo present

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – July 9, July 23, August 6,

minutes approved -


1 - Harvest Festival - rain date Sep 28th

2 - Rep Vallee has sent Mr Campbell to represent his office tonight and will have someone at each future Council meeting


recognition to Joe McGann and Ron Higgenbottom for installation of grab bars for elderly residents in Franklin

Franklin Proclamation

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike





Bottle & Can Drive - FHS - 9/6/08

Bottle & Can Drive - FHS 9/6/08

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

Take your bottles and cans to the High School parking lot and help out the Hockey Team!

TOWN COUNCIL - Agenda - 9/3/08

September 3, 2008

7:00 PM

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – July 9, July 23, August 6,








  • Street Opening Bylaw – Gas Conversions
  • Department of Planning & Community Development – Bryan Taberner – Downtown Parking, DPCD Update



  • Resolution 08-56: Establishing an Economic Opportunity Area
  • Resolution 08-57: Authorizing Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5:Zoning Map: Business to Commercial II- 1st Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Link to the agenda on the Town page here

Link to the package on the Town page here

In the News - Plain St fire, schools re-open

Franklin woman escapes blaze

By Danielle Ameden/Daily News staff

A napping woman escaped her second-story Plain Street apartment without injury yesterday afternoon, awoken by fire alarms and fleeing as her house filled with smoke and flames, officials said.

As Cheryl Colby ran out of the185 Plain St. home, neighbors say they called 911 and ran to the rescue, setting up a ladder, believing Colby's son was still upstairs. As it turned out, they said, he was not home.

Fire Chief Gary McCarraher said the two-alarm blaze, called in at 4:20 p.m., is under investigation. It resulted in substantial fire, smoke and water damage to the home, he said.


Fire caused by match or cigarette

By Danielle Ameden/Daily News staff

Fire Chief Gary McCarraher Tuesday, Aug. 2, announced the two-alarm blaze that roared through the home at 185 Plain St. Monday was accidental, caused by careless disposal of smoking materials.

James Colby, who lives on the second floor, was smoking a cigarette around 1 or 1:30 p.m. on the wooden back deck before he left the house. Either a match or the cigarette butt later ended up igniting the deck, with fire ripping up the two-family home's vinyl siding to the attic, the chief said.


Franklin schools to reopen after pipe explosion

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

School will resume tomorrow at Oak Street Elementary School, Horace Mann Middle School, and the Early Childhood Development Center after Superintendent Wayne Ogden closed the schools today for emergency repairs.

Early Labor Day morning, a piece of plumbing that controls hot water and steam failed and exploded at the school complex at 224 Oak St., Ogden explained.

"The pressure was so intense, it blew a hole through the sheetwall in the utility closet ... and shorted an electrical panel for the whole complex," which set off the fire alarm, he said.

The Fire Department and facilities workers cleaned up the water and started to repair the electrical panel on Monday, he said, but were unable to buy plumbing parts on Labor Day weekend.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Primary Election - 9/16/08

Election Day - 9/16/08

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

For additional information on the Primary Election coming up two week from today -> Tuesday, 9/16/08 visit the Secretary of State web page here

FM #11 - School Committee 8/26/08

Another in a series of podcasts on what matters in Franklin, MA. This one focusing on the School Committee meeting of 8/26/08 and then the news of Supt Wayne Ogden's resignation.

Time: 40 minutes, 6 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes

Music intro

My intro

FM #11

From the School Committee meeting on Tuesday 8/26/08, there were a few items of real interest. There are a number of items on the agenda and respectfully while all of them are important these are the most important. The most significant item of all for the week occurred after the public portion of the meeting but we’ll get to that in due course.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing. Benjamin Franklin

Miriam Goodman and Maureen Sabolinski provided an update on the pay-to-ride program. Miriam also had an analysis (copy of the one pager provided) of pay-to-ride for the past four years and an outlook for this school year 2008-2009.

Franklin: Pay-to-Ride FY05 - FY09

Late bus
Based upon the decline in enrollment Supt Wayne Ogden recommended keeping with the failed override plan of cutting the late bus. It was not included in the budget unless the override had passed so no additional action was required of the School Committee on the recommendation. There was additional discussion primarily from Ed Cafasso to find the “short money” and keep the bus running. There was not additional support for this idea across the committee. The override failed hence no late bus.

FHS Scheduling problem
The High School encountered a scheduling problem. After cutting the teachers and the classes associated with the override failure, the schedule came up with a hole were approx. 200 students had an empty period. As state last forbids study halls, they played with a couple of options. One additional teacher (in English) resigned in early August and backfilling that position with another English teacher did not provide coverage for the schedule. Backfilling the English teacher with a music teacher did cover the hole so they did hire a music teacher.

The major news of the week occurred after the public portion of the School Committee meeting ended. As you have no doubt heard by now, Supt Wayne Ogden submitted his resignation effective June 30, 2009. To those who call him a quitter, he is hardly that. A quitter would have provided two weeks or less notice and gone out the door. Wayne took the far more courageous option of providing significant notice to the School Committee in order for them to start to look for a replacement, while he continued in his role running the school department.

Yes, it is a disappointment but Franklin voters have no one to blame but themselves. The majority of those who came out to vote on the override defeated the increase to provide a level service budget to the schools. The real issue lies with the many, many voters who did not come out to vote at all. As I have mentioned previously, the quick numbers on the override showed that 500 voters changed their vote from 2007 to 2008 and voted NO. An additional 1000 voters who came out in 2007 to vote Yes, simply did not show up.

We do have tough time ahead of us. We need to work together. We need to make our presence felt at each and every school committee meeting and town council meeting.

Don’t just sit there.
Please get up and do something.

If you need inspiration, view the Do You Believe video posted from YouTube on Franklin Matters on 8/30/08.

The Ben Franklin quote comes from the following website:


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

For additional information, please visit

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

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

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ed Cafasso Letter - Part 2

Hello everyone!

I am passing along a brief update on school issues in Franklin, but first I need to make two corrections to the e-mail I distributed Sunday evening…

  • At Franklin High School, the graduation rate for the Class of 2008 was 98.7%. Of the graduates, 73.1% chose to attend a public or private four-year college, and 15.4% chose to attend a public or private two-year college. (My e-mail said “four-year” in the second reference.)
  • The average per pupil expenditure among school districts in Massachusetts stood at $11,859, which was $2,273 more than Franklin’s. (My e-mail said “less.”)

Thank you to the readers who pointed out my errors… I apologize. You can view the complete, corrected version of the academic-financial performance report online at:

With the school year underway, three issues are top of mind:

1. The Superintendent’s Resignation: Many parents have expressed deep disappointment in Supt. Ogden’s decision to resign, and I share that sentiment. You can expect next steps to be a topic of discussion at the School Committee meeting scheduled for the evening of Sept. 9. The mission of education goes on in Franklin and I think it’s fair to say that all the members of School Committee are committed to ensuring that the schools do the best they can this year with the resources that are available.

2. Class Sizes: The Franklin Public Schools began the 2008-09 academic year with an estimated 6,175 students, an increase of 101 students from the end of school in June and 136 more than were enrolled at the start of school in 2006. With 40 fewer teachers, there are fewer classes at all levels and too many of the classes that remain are far larger than they should be. We are already receiving reports of over-crowded classrooms at middle schools and the high school; in some cases, class sizes at Franklin High are at 40 students or more and there are not enough seats or textbooks for some students. Now that school has begun and new enrollments are being finalized, the Committee expects to receive up-to-date data on class sizes soon; I will pass it along when it becomes available.

3. Franklin High School: The reduction in instructional personnel will need to be reported to officials with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), which looks closely at class size in making decisions about our accreditation status. It is possible that the increased class sizes, the need for facility improvements, and the need to invest in our science and technology offerings will result in the high school being put on probation by the end of the year. Moving as quickly as possible to address the issues at Franklin High must be a top priority for the School Committee and for the town as a whole this fall.

Facilities maintenance responsibilities for school buildings and grounds were transferred to the Town control this summer after an agreement was reached to ensure that school principals retain command and control over issues inside their buildings, which is a required provision under the state’s Education Reform law. Custodial staff did another fine job preparing the buildings for the first day of school last week.

Also, I know many of you have expressed concern about the fate of the late bus, which was one of the items at risk in the override voters faced this past June. With the override’s failure, the late bus was not included in the school budget for 2008-09. For a time earlier this summer, it appeared that strong demand for the pay-to-ride program would produce enough funds to continue the late bus, but now additional unexpected new costs have arisen elsewhere within the school district. At the Aug. 26 School Committee meeting, efforts to continue the late bus were again discussed and shelved.

The rollercoaster late bus debate is a symbol of the increasingly difficult choices we face as a district. When there was a threat the late bus would be eliminated, working families protested because the service allows them to work and their children to access important after-school programs. When there was a chance there might be funds to continue the late bus, some community leaders complained that the School Committee would lose credibility if we didn’t follow through on the promised consequences of the failed override. Still others argue that if we can somehow find $40,000, we should use the funds to try to re-hire a teacher or for some other important purpose, instead of using it to revive the late bus.

At a time of scarce financial resources and a variety of urgent, under-funded needs, you can expect more of these unattractive choices to dominate School Committee discussions and decisions.

These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. I hope to distribute at least one e-mail update each month during the school year, as issues warrant. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these updates, 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.


Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

Note: The corrections noted by Ed in the opening here have been incorporated into the posting of Part 1.

188 King St - progress

188 King St - progress, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The progress is significant.

Prior pictures can be found here and here.

School Committee Meeting - 8/26/08

No School for Horace Mann, Oak St, or ECDC on 9/2/08

Just received an automated message via the new town system alerting us to a "mechanical failure" at the Horace Mann, Oak Street and ECDC complex which will cause there to be no school on Tuesday, September 2.

No teachers or students should report on Tuesday, September 2.

NO SCHOOL - Tuesday, September 2
  • Horace Mann Middle School
  • Oak Street Elementary School
  • Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC)

    Ed Cafasso Letter - Part 1

    Hello everyone!

    I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend. As we begin the 2008-09 school year in Franklin, I want to share you with some objective facts about the state of your schools.

    The first section of the report below provides a summary of academic performance in Franklin as of today. A second section summarizes the financial performance of the school district based on the most recent data available.

    To me, as a parent, a citizen and a member of the School Committee, this data demonstrates that, up to now, the Franklin Public Schools have been high performing academically and have used taxpayer resources in a highly efficient manner to produce those results. How long can it continue? That’s the big question. You be the judge.

    Academic Performance

    The Franklin Public Schools received four commendations in 2007-08 from the Office of Educational Quality Assurance (EQA) that directly affect and speak to student performance: High MCAS scores, curricular alignment with state frameworks, the district professional development program, and the mentoring program.

    The district analysis of the 2007 MCAS data continues to identify the Franklin Public School System as a “high performance” district in all tests at all grade levels.

    • All students continue to outperform the state averages on the same tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science/Technology Engineering (STE).
    • All 17 tests, including three Long Composition tests, given in Grades 4, 7, and 10 scored a “High” (80-89.9) or “Very High” (90-100) performance rating.
    • MCAS 2007 included, for the first time, the addition of a science competency test at the high school. Students in the class of 2010 must pass a STE test to graduate. The district identified Biology as the test of choice since Biology is a requirement for graduation. The 2007 Grade 9 Biology CPI was 96.7 (Very High), outperforming the state by two performance ratings.
    • All Special Education subgroups in Grades 3-10 achieved a higher proficiency index than state subgroups in each of the subject tests.
    • All Low Income subgroups achieved higher proficiency indices (PI) than the state subgroups in each tested area with the exception of Grade 7 ELA, which scored equal to that of the state subgroup, and Grade 8 Math, which came in at 3 PI points below that of the state subgroup.
    • When compared with 28 top-performing districts in the state by AYP grade levels (3-5, 6-8, 9-12), Franklin outperformed 14 districts in one or more of these AYP reporting categories.
    • At the high school, 105 students were awarded the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship based on their Grade 10 MCAS performance. Students qualified for this scholarship by scoring: (a) in the Advanced category in English Language Arts or Mathematics and Advanced or Proficient in the other subject area on the grade 10 MCAS assessments; and, (b) in the top 25% of the students in the district on these tests.

    The complete MCAS report may be found on the Franklin Public Schools main web page at the following link:

    In addition, the Franklin schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard for 2007 in both ELA and Mathematics. This is an important improvement indicator for Franklin and identifies the district as “No Status” for two years running. From 2003-2005, the district did not meet AYP (subgroups only). In 2006, the district made AYP and maintained this status for a second year (2007). This two-year performance has officially removed the Franklin Public Schools from the “Identified for Improvement – subgroups” status.

    District and school NCLB Report Cards may be viewed on the Franklin Public Schools website at the following link:

    At Franklin High School, the graduation rate for the Class of 2008 was 98.7%. Of the graduates, 73.1% chose to attend a public or private four-year college, and 15.4% chose to attend a public or private four-year college. Graduates chose to attend a wide range of well-known colleges or universities, including Boston College, Boston University, Bates, Brandeis, Dean College, Harvard, Hofstra, Northeastern, Providence, Syracuse, University of Pennsylvania, and U-Mass.

    School Financial Performance

    According to April 2008 data from Massachusetts Department of Education, Franklin spent $9,586 per pupil. (This data is for the 2006-07 academic year, the most recent calculated by the state.)

    Fifty-one (51) school districts spent less per pupil than Franklin, and 277 spent more per pupil than Franklin. In other words, 84% of the school districts in the state spent more per pupil than Franklin. The average per pupil expenditure among school districts in Massachusetts stood at $11,859, which was $2,273 more than Franklin’s.

    • Franklin spent $201 per pupil on school administration. The state average was $401
    • Franklin spent $480 per pupil on instructional leadership. The state average was $770.
    • Franklin spent $4,718 per pupil on classroom and specialist teachers. The state average was $4,513.
    • Franklin spent $90 per pupil on professional development. The state average was $222.
    • Franklin spent $190 per pupil on instructional materials, equipment and technology. The state average was $356.
    • Franklin spent $213 per pupil on guidance and counseling. The state average was $328.
    • Franklin spent $862 per pupil on pupil services. The state average was $1,081.
    • Franklin spent $923 per pupil on operations and maintenance. The state average was $1,041.
    • Franklin spent $908 per pupil on insurance and retirement programs. The state average was $1,929.

    The average teacher salary in Franklin stood at $56,366, according to the DOE data. Statewide, the average teacher salary was $58,257.

    Franklin’s budget for fiscal year 2009 is approximately $88 million. The school budget for the current academic year is $49.9 million, approximately $3 million less than the amount required to maintain the same level of service as last year. The town budget is funded largely by two key revenue streams – property taxes, which provide $48.8 million or 55% of the total, and state and local aid, which provides $33.5 million or about 38% of the total.

    Chapter 70 education aid accounts for the vast majority of the state aid distributed to Franklin and totals $28.7 million in the current fiscal year. Almost 58% of the budget of Franklin Public Schools is paid for through Chapter 70 funds.

    Enjoy the weekend! I plan to e-mail a second school update tomorrow evening.

    These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. If you are receiving duplicates or if you no longer wish to receive these updates, please let me know. If you know of someone you would like to add to the distribution list, please send along their email address. Thanks!

    Ed Cafasso, Member

    Franklin School Committee

    "You forget everything around you"

    Posted Aug 31, 2008 @ 11:29 PM


    Turning 37 years old isn't a milestone for most people, but for Babe, a beautiful white Appaloosan horse, it's close to a miracle and reason for her loved ones to celebrate.

    In human years, Babe would be about 148 years old, estimated Cathie LaBastie, who owns and runs the property at 469 Maple St. with her husband, Steve LaBastie.

    Cathie LaBastie said for a horse to be considered old 15 years ago "was to live to the early 20s. Now, old is 32 maybe."

    Horses live longer today thanks to improvements in medical care and feed, she said.

    Babe's long life is credited to Holliston resident Julie Mahoney, who has cared for the horse over the past 16 years.

    And Babe has played an equally vital role in her owner's life, said Mahoney, who wants to pay tribute to her "faithful companion" before her 37th birthday next March.

    Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    "I would say the response has been very positive"

    MetroWest Daily News
    Posted Aug 30, 2008 @ 11:06 PM

    From the outside, they looked like any other assortment of little old ladies.

    Moments after I walked into the Sunshine Club at Franklin's Senior Center, Lena Vitti filled me in on the rules: "You have to smile to come in the door."

    Little did I know I was stepping into the lion's den.

    I'd gone to Franklin to take on Vitti and a handful of other seniors in a game of what's become the hottest must-have item at area senior centers - Wii bowling.

    Sure, I was a Wii newbie - the closest I'd come to using the video game system was a display at Best Buy, but being in my early 30s, and part of the generation that grew up with video games, I went in feeling pretty confident.

    Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

    In the Globe - Ogden resigns

    By Rachel Lebeaux Globe Correspondent / August 31, 2008

    Franklin's superintendent of schools submitted his resignation Tuesday night, citing layoffs in the wake of voters turning down a tax increase as the deciding factor.

    "I came to Franklin in May 2006 to help move the public schools from good to great. Instead, we are beginning another academic year moving in the opposite direction," Superintendent Wayne Ogden wrote in his resignation letter to the School Committee. "We will start the 2008-2009 school year with 180 more students than when I arrived, and a budget that is several million dollars short of keeping pace with this growth."

    Read the full article in the Globe West section of Sunday's Boston Globe here