Tuesday, September 9, 2008

School Committee Agenda - 9/9/08

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

1. Routine Business
  • Citizen’s Comments
  • Review of Agenda
I recommend approval of the minutes from the August 26, 2008 School Committee Meeting.
  • Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
  • Payroll Ms. Armenio
  • FHS Student Representatives
  • Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
  • Annie Sullivan Middle School Tribute

3. Discussion Only Items
  • Superintendent’s Search Process
  • Enrollment / Class Size
  • Superintendent’s Goals
  • Strategic Plan Update

4. Action Items
  • I recommend easement of land behind High School to Town for Senior Housing Project as described in the attached document.
  • I recommend acceptance of a check for $4,800.00 from the Horace Mann PCC to support the Video Yearbook, Middle School Magic & Talent Show.
  • I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,500.00 from the Parmenter PCC for the Kindergarten field trip to Davis Farmland and the Gr. 1 field trip to the Acton Discovery Museum.

5. Information Matters
  • Superintendent’s Report
  • Enrollment / Class size
  • PCC Leadership
  • HMMS / Oak Street / ECDC
  • Courses not offered this year
School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

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

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Putting the storm water presentation to use

Franklin: Union St storm drain

Franklin: Union St storm drain 2

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

Remembering the storm water presentation from a recent Town Council meeting, I took notice of a couple of storm water grates on a recent walk up Union St. The photos don't show it very well but one of these has some water about 4-6 feet below the surface (apparently the way it should be) and one of these has a dark pile of refuse about 4 inches below the surface (probably not the way it should be).

In either case, the material on the grate should be removed to keep the grate clear to handle the next rainfall.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tom Sousa Letter to Editor

This was in the print edition of the Franklin Gazette but unfortunately is not found in their online edition. The last "Letter to the Editor" on their web site is from October 1, 2007. Tom's letter is well argued so I asked if I could republish it here and he granted permission to do so. Thanks, Tom!

Franklin’s School Superintendent Wayne Ogden’s resignation this week was very disturbing to many people. Reading Mr. Ogden’s quotes, it seems to me he resigned because he felt he couldn’t improve the school system with diminishing funds and a lack of community support.

What’s happening to Franklin? A telling sign on the state of Franklin’s education system is that approximately 10% of the incoming Franklin Freshman High School boys are going to private schools! Will we have to continue to ship our kids out of town to ensure they receive a proper education? What about those less fortunate who can’t do this?

Milford Daily News blog contributors hammered Mr. Ogden, and belittled those who appointed him, as if his departure is the critical issue at hand here. Ogden's departure is a telling sign that he doesn't want to be associated with a failing school system, because we, the people of Franklin, are incapable of managing and controlling our budget and finances.

What are "we" the residents, thinking here? Okay, okay, we didn't pass another Proposition 2.5 because our taxes would be too high, right? Why did we have to lay off 70 school employees? Since the population has almost doubled in the last 12-15 years, all of the residents with kids can only blame themselves for this happening!

Franklin’s tax rate is still one of the lowest in the state! Think about that… Franklin, voted as one of the "Best places to bring up kids”, and to “Start a Small Business” in the country has a lower tax rate than more commercialized towns like Milford? Millis, Medway, Wrentham and Norfolk have fewer infrastructures to support, some shared High Schools and yet they have higher tax rates than us; what makes us think we shouldn’t pay more to get something similar? Franklin residents must understand that all of our property values will diminish if our school system continues to wane.

I would hope that when decision time comes around again, that Franklin residents with children and grandchildren, and the Franklin residents with businesses, and the Franklin residents with town pride, and the Franklin residents that have history here will all stand up together and understand and accept that change has occurred here, and some of it seemingly out of our control. With this change though, comes a financial responsibility for the betterment of our way of life, and for that of our children and our elderly.

Can we prioritize our spending between safety (new Fire House), our history (new Sr. Center), and our future (education budget)? I think there could be a balance, there should be a balance, but the first thing we need to do is get the ship straightened out! I don't know what the answer to this problem is; I am not a politician.

Best wishes, Mr. Ogden. I for one cannot blame you for your departure. I wouldn't want this bloody situation on my hands either.

Thanks; Tom Sousa, 508.954.2911 (c), tomsousa@gmail.com

"I see a bleak future if public funding for school districts doesn't change"

Along with stocking their children's backpacks, parents are increasingly helping teachers fill their cash-strapped classrooms with glue sticks, markers, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, and other basic materials once covered by school budgets.

Many teachers sent out the pleas last month before the first day of school as part of welcoming letters. Others handed out the lists last week on opening day. And a growing number, such as those at Chelmsford's Harrington Elementary this year, posted requests on school websites, saving money on postage and paper.

The lists are another telltale sign of how budget-cutting in recent years has affected the pocketbooks of parents, coming on top of the hundreds of dollars they spend annually on ever-increasing fees for school lunches, sports, after-school programs, and buses.

With household budgets this year stretched thin by rising grocery and fuel prices, parents are questioning how much longer they can keep giving.

"Parents are starting to feel like a piggy bank," said Holly Ewart-O'Neall, the mother of a second-grader and cochairman of the Worcester Arts Magnet School's parent-teacher group, which experienced a decline last year in fund-raising revenue that sometimes goes toward supplies.

School districts, wanting to avoid cuts to staff and programs, have been spending less on classroom supplies and materials during this economically turbulent decade. Statewide, school district expenditures on instructional supplies and materials, including textbooks, dropped 4.3 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2007 to $334.7 million, despite a dramatic increase in the cost of many items.

Read the full article from the Boston Globe here

This is one area where Franklin School policy prohibits teachers from asking parents to contribute to the classroom. Do parents still contribute? Yes. Many of them know the situation is tight and will offer to bring in items used in the classrooms. In some cases, the teachers themselves make up the shortfall.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In the Globe - high school building committee

Local officials are looking for ways to deal with the aging Franklin High School, but say they don't believe the town's taxpayers would be able to foot the entire bill for a proposed $100 million renovation or a $130 million new high school.

The town is putting together a committee to assess the school district's building needs, and first on the list is the future of the 37-year-old high school.

"There are other initiatives in town and in the school system that need to be addressed as well," said Town Council chairman Chris Feeley, but the committee is "going to focus on the high school."

The school has already been the source of an architectural study commissioned by the town. Now, officials are looking for help from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the agency responsible for disbursing $2.5 billion in state funds for projects across the state over the next five years.

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

GATRA - updated schedule

The updated GATRA schedule can be found on the new Franklin web site here (PDF)

"There were several options discussed"

Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 06, 2008 @ 10:27 PM


Laying off 17 teachers this school year following the failed override left Franklin High School with major scheduling headaches, including gaps in 200 students' schedules, said Principal Pamela Gould, a problem which has now been fixed.
Three weeks before school began, she said, attempts to realign everyone's schedule were still not completed and about 200 students had a hole in their schedules - one empty period - because administrators did not have enough courses to put the students in.
The Massachusetts Department of Education essentially banned study halls, said Superintendent Wayne Ogden, so they were not an option.
Heidi Guarino of the DOE said as part of Education Reform 1993, the state requires 990 hours of instruction for secondary schools per year, which leaves no time for study hall. Some districts still have some, but the state frowns upon them and requires them to have some learning going on.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

This was part of the School Committee meeting live reporting on Tuesday 8/26/08

Financial Planning Committee Charter - DRAFT

Draft: For discussion purposes only

Financial plan
  • Develop a 3 year budget that reflects a range of feasible economic scenarios and funding choices that may be required o Develop metrics to measure and report the town's financial and operational health

Build trust in the process
  • Involve key town committees, department, and others to ensure an inclusive process o Achieve buy-in from a critical mass of town leaders for the current situation and recommended course of action

Education and outreach
  • Better understand the views of citizens at large, including conventional wisdom that may not be supported by facts o Educate citizens regarding the town's financial health and financial outlook, including as necessary, the need for future overrides

Recommend one or more courses of action to ensure town finances support the overall goals of the town

Financial Planning Committee Minutes of August 7, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm

Members present: Finance Committee Chair James Roche, Councilors Deborah Bartlett, Shannon Zollo and Steve Whalen. Finance Committee member Rebecca Cameron, School Committee Member Matt Kelley, resident Doug Hardesty. School Committee member Roberta Trahan arrived late.

Also present were Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, and School Superintendent Wayne Ogden.

Not in attendance: Resident Gwynne Wilschek

Chairperson Roche asked the Committee to determine what they should accomplish and set a schedule of meetings. Steve Whalen believed there should be an educational and communication component, a printed document that could be distributed to all residences. A discussion ensued concerning potential forms of communication, education, outreach, etc.

The Committee thought that the Council, School Committee, and Finance Committee should work hard towards agreement with the final report.

Suggestions included a historical prospective, understanding that the budget is subjective, a potential questionnaire at the November election.

The Town Administrator handed out four-year revenue and expense information and a potential list of issues the Committee would need to obtain information on.

The group thought that a three-year projection that included outreach, education and communication was the goal of the Committee.

The Committee scheduled the next meetings for August 21,2008.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm.


Jeff Nutting

Financial Planning Committee Minutes of July 10, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM
Members present were Deb Bartlett, Matt Kelly, Jim Roche and Rebecca Cameron. Doug Hardesty and Roberta Trahan arrived late.

Nancy Galkowski the Assistant Town Manager from Arlington, MA presented Arlington's approach to successfully passing an override that would meet the town's needs for a five-year period.

She explained that an override had failed and that they have an annual revenue gap of about $2,000,000.

The override was successful but they have learned a few things that they would do differently including not promising an expenditure cap.

The committee also, set the next meeting for August 7, 2008 with the hope of developing a mission, goals and times. They further discussed the challenges of getting information to the public and discussed a handout at the November election along with other media options.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM


Jeff Nutting

Financial Planning Committee Minutes of June 11, 2008

The meeting was called to order by Chairperson pro-tem Deb Bartlett at 8:05 PM

Members present were Deb Bartlett, Matt Kelly, Jim Roche, Rebecca Cameron, Doug Hardesty, Gwynne Wilschek, Shannon Zollo and Steve Whalen.

A motion was made by Deb Bartlett and second by Steve Whalen to elected Jim Roche Chair. No other nominations were enter. The vote was 8-0.

Jim Roche asked for nominations for Vice Chair. Steve Whalen moved and Deb Bartlett second that Doug Hardesty for vice chair. No other nominations were entered. The vote was 8-0.

Jim Roche asked for nominations for Clerk. Steve Whalen moved and Deb Bartlett seconded that Gwynne Wilschek be clerk. No other nominations were entered. The vote was 8-0.

A discussion ensued about asking if someone from the Town of Arlington could attend the next meeting to outline their approach to a long-term override. It was also discussed about gathering information about the history of the budget, stabilization fund, fiscal policies, hold public hearings, and making a list of barriers to success of making government more effective and more efficient.

The Town Administrator stated he would work on the above mentioned requests. The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm


Jeff Nutting

Saturday, September 6, 2008

In the News - GATRA schedule change, fund raisers for youth

Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 05, 2008 @ 04:55 PM


Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, GATRA will begin its new, expanded bus service, bringing riders to the movies and shops at the Bellingham Shopping Center and Barnes & Noble plaza off Rte. 495. The new route also includes a few stops to pick up high school and middle school students (who walk to the high school) at Franklin High School, 218 Oak St., before and after school. The bus will stop at Franklin High at 7:09 a.m., 2:10 p.m., and 3:08 p.m.

For more information about the new GATRA service, please see the Sunday edition of the Daily News on Sept. 7.

Yes, the service change starts today but you get to find out about the new schedule tomorrow. Go figure that one out!


Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 05, 2008 @ 04:48 PM


The Franklin Music Boosters is holding a car wash, $5/car, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with a raindate of Sunday at the Pizzeria Uno's in Bellingham, through Franklin public schools' "Dough Rai$ers" fundraising program. Pizzera Uno is sponsoring the car wash and dining coupon program - giving proceeds directly to the Franklin Music Boosters.

Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill is located at 205 Hartford Ave, Bellingham. Click here for coupons http://franklinmusic.org/floridatrip2009/Uno%20Tickets.pdf

Also on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Franklin High School Boys Ice Hockey team will hold its can/bottle fundraiser at the Franklin High School parking lot at 218 Oak St. The fundraiser benefits the FHS Boys Ice Hockey Team.

So what does Ashland have to do with these fundraisers? Another one to figure out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ben Franklin questions

Morning question, what good shall I do this day?

Evening question, what good have I done this day?

>From "Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings"

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterzreply-count Replies.

Financial Planning Committee 9/4/08

Financial Planning Committee - my summary

recycle electronics at Gillette Stadium

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Sony Electronics Inc. and Waste Management Recycle America are planning some interceptions of their own with a recycling event to collect old electronic devices and keep them from the waste stream.

The drive-through event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the stadium, is part of Sony's Take Back Recycling program, which provides free recycling for its products.

On Saturday, however, all brands of electronics will be accepted, including everything from cell phones, computers and monitors, to televisions, radios, DVD and MP3 players, pagers, personal digital assistants and other devices.

"It's all brands of household electronics," said Wes Muir, director of corporate communications for Waste Management.

The event does not include white goods, microwaves, power tools, or the like, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Updated with a picture and description of the logistic marvel the recycling event here