Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Live reporting - MASC

3. Discussion Only Items

MASC Update

resolution on special ed funding circuit breaker
Charter school authorization
Charter school funding formula
mid-year retirements, did not pass

A booklet on efficiencies was provided
we are already doing all of these with the exception of two items between the Town and Schools
this speaks well for the efficiencies we have been doing

great suggestions for how to engage the community

Rohrbach - we do a lot of innovative stuff , more than we give ourselves credit for

Glynn - "CAVE" people - citizens against virtually everything

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Calendars for 2011-12, 2012-13

3. Discussion Only Items
School Calendars – 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

Sabolinski - we will go back and tweak the 2012-13 calendar as Labor Day is so late.
If you have feedback, please provide it. We'll likely bring them back in January for approval.

Parents and the community will have time to provide feedback.

Mullen - There was some issue in regards to graduation day with reference to the last day of school
Sabolinski - the graduations are listed on the bottom, this doesn't look right. It will need to be adjusted. The graduation day can only be ten days from the end of school.

Cafasso - I would strongly support your effort to keep that.

Roy - I think it is a wise decision to keep the election day a no-school day especially with 12,000 folks voting.
Sabolinski - Yes, to try and move that many folks through the high school with the election, it really becomes a safety issue.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Capital plan - facilities

2. Guests/Presentations

b. Capital Plan

Jeff Nutting talks to the Facilities update (in place of Mike D'Angelo)

The document associated with this section of the budget can be found - Facilities
Let me take a few minutes to cover the capital process. When I first came here, we had different systems, different process. You weren't included in the Town's capital plan

The Council has been supportive of my work on the capital plan. They have also supported $6 million dollars of bonding to fix school roofs, etc.

We use the 'free cash' for our capital budget. We can't use the free cash for anything operational as it varies and is one time funds.

$2, 133,000 is free cash this year.
We are recommending setting aside $800,000 for unemployment costs

The Council sub-committee will review the recommendations and bring it to the full council.
We always have financial constraints, that is not going to change.
With x or y employees, we still need tools for them to work with. We need to replace the school vans, police cruisers, etc. When you think of how much we have invested in our tools it is millions of dollars. If we skip some time, image how hard it will be to try and catch up. I am sure you know all that but sometimes some one wonders why.

Kennedy unit ventilators are 40 years old
Mike D'Angelo has a request for their replacement, if it is funded, I would request to do so with a bond so the first payment wouldn't be due for a couple of years.
If this gets funded, it gets almost all your buildings (with the exception of Davis Thayer) you'll be current.
With interest rates and construction costs at an all time low, this is a good time to do so.

Rohrbach - can you explain the track replacement?
Nutting - the track is about 7 years old, we are only talking about replacing the top layer quarter to half inch of the track

Roharbach - and for the removal of the portables?
Nutting - we will fund those on an as needed basis. You'll be deciding which ones, this is for the funding. I'll wait for the game plan that you decide. I don't think you'll take them all out at once. This will come out of the cash capital.

We put items on the listing to keep them on the radar. This is a long term capital plan. It doesn't mean that it will happen tomorrow or next year, it will get addressed over time.

Glynn - have we done an energy audit on the facilities?
Nutting - we do that all the time, Mike has worked with the utilities to do so. We have replaced lights, it is an on-going effort. We have been ahead of the curve. Our energy savings has been ongoing.

Roy - I can't remmeber what we talked about with Davis Thayer?
Nutting - we are waiting on the School Committee for how you are going to utilize your facilities. If and when you make a decision to redistrict or whatever you decide.

Nutting - we have 3.5% of debt service in each budget, we can go and fund up to that level. We have peaked in the utilization and over the next couple of years, we get capacity available. We don't have to ask for a debt exclusion as it is already budgeted for. The model has been successful over the last decade.

Nutting - Even though the School Committee deemed the portables at Davis Thayer surplus, the principal asked to have them maintained for another year.

Roy - Are you putting all these forward to the Council?
Nutting - every one asks for what you need, we see what we can get.

Roy - these are the priorities of the School Committee
Nutting - Am I going to cut out the police cruisers to give the schools what it wants? No, I have pared them down. We have $800,000 and your requests are more than half of that. That is not any different than any other year.

Roy - both the girls and boys soccer team won this evening.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Technology

2. Guests/Presentations

b. Capital Plan

Tim Raposa

Requesting to purchase additional netbook systems for the high school and to expand to the Remington Middle School

Electronic whiteboard replaced in request with a newer projector at half the cost for the same functionality

Laptop carts - requesting three additional
providing mobile technology to classrooms

Remington-Jefferson lab upgrade
speed and productivity gains for labs

The document with the details of this budget section can be found here: Technology

Rohrbach - which are the whiteboards in this request?
Raposa - these are the Epson Projector units are half the price. They are more light weight, they use a pen to touch instead of your finger. They made this targeted for schools so we can afford to buy them and afford to keep them.

The whiteboards we bought before are portable, they can be moved from room to room.

A really good deal.

We are trying to raise the percentage penetration across the district, most schools are about 35-40%. Some of the buildings with their own money have purchased additional units.

Sabolinski - we are working with the schools to make sure that the units are being equitably allocated across the district.

Raposa - every grade level can use this technology to improve the experience

Glynn - The Gmate software, does that include Professional Development?
Kingsland-Smith - no we have been trained on this already so we did not need that.

Sabolinski - we had a question on jumping into iPad technology, Tim has been looking into this
Raposa - it is an eight month old product, it is a great consumer device but how to do manage the devices for a school environment. Everything that needs to be loaded to an iPad is via the iTunes store. Apple is working on developing a process to use credits with the iTunes store to avoid having multiple accounts.

We are looking at a 'mobi' device, it will connect to the iPad and allow the teacher to project and control the iPad as she walks around the room. We may try this in a lab environment before we do a major rollout. We are watching two districts that are small and complete Apple environment before we do something.

Let's get the wireless in first and then either they can bring in a unit or eventually we can continue to expand the population of netbooks, etc.

Textbooks can be replaced with e-readers. But that is a developing story.

Nutting - I want to note what a terrific job Tim and his staff does. It has been a good benefit for the Town and Schools. It saves lots of money and covers both sides of the house.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Capital plan - vans

2. Guests/Presentations

b. Capital Plan

Special Education Vehicles
Grant used to purchase the vans in 2000, a replacement plan was put together to replace them overtime
Maintenance is covered by the Town as part of the joint effort by the Town and Schools
The Council has embraced this plan and I expect them to continue as it has been a good partnership

$58,000 for the two vans (approx $27,000 each with special outfitting)
The inspections are not the normal few minutes at a local place, they do take all day and cover all aspects of the vehicles

Joint presentation by Sabolinski and Nutting

The presentation document for this section of the budget discussion can be found here - Van

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Capital plan - textbooks

2. Guests/Presentations

b. Capital Plan

Instructional Services / Textbooks - Michelle Kingsland-Smith

The summary document and associated documents were already posted and can be found

$114,000 for a full phonics program for K-2, and for 3-5 for Response To Intervention requirements
Instructional supplies for teachers, they are durable cards
Professional development is included from Wilson based upon a 'train the trainer' model

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - "let it snow"

2. Guests/Presentations
a. “Let it Snow” (Maureen Sabolinski, Jeff Nutting, Mike D’Angelo, Brutus Cantoreggi)

The presentation doc was posted yesterday and is viewable here

The six truck routine was what was used for the snow that came Monday morning.

260 lane miles of road in town, 30 employees account for $900.00 expense
This is supplemented by contractors as we don't have enough employees to cover the area required.

3 routes for sidewalk clearing
don't have the manpower to cover all the sidewalks
doesn't make sense to do the sidewalks until the roads are done

Salt is not available for resident use at the DPW yard. It used to be but the regulations prevent that these days.

Please clear any fire hydrants near your residence to help the safety of the neighborhood.

Cafasso - there was a lot of dialog last year about the students on the roads
Brutus - there isn't much else we can do
Sabolinski - it is the parents right to determine of it is safe to send their children to school. From last year, there was a picture shown with a sidewalk cleared and yet students were still walking in the roadway.

The decision needs to be made by 5:00 AM to get notification to the buses and to the staff if there is no school. It also takes time to get the word out through the normal radio and TV channels. Attempting to use the ConnectED less as some parents of elementary students were complaining about receiving the phone calls so early.

Nutting - the uncertainty of the storm is the issue, we are reacting to what is happening. Please be patient. It takes time and energy. The DPW does a great job but it expensive.

Brutus - We have excellent communications not only on snow days but on early release days.
Sabolisnki - We are educational specialists, we will defer to the Police, Fire, DPW for information on other aspects of the safety of our district. Our primary goal is never to put students into the troughs of horrendous weather. I also consult with other districts to try and make regional decisions. If it is not good here, it is likely not good in Medway and Bellingham either.

Cafasso - what about FOX and WHDH, did we have an issue with them?
Sabolinski - not now, we did once as they did not give us an updated code but after the first time, we have not had an issue.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - School Committee Meeting

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent: none

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments - none
Review of Agenda - tabling the bills for this time
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the October 26, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
Motion to accept, passed 7-0
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn (tabled for tonight)
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
1. Budget to Actual

Re-organizational meeting
Jeff Roy nominated and seconded for Chair
motion to accept, passed 7-0

Paula Mullen nominated and seconded for Vice-Chair
motion to accept, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

FM #76 - FY 2012 Budget Outlook

Let's take about ten minutes to get into the first budget outlook on fiscal 2012 from Town Administrator Jeff Nutting.

Time: 13 minutes, 37 seconds

MP3 File

Show Notes:

This is #76 in the series of internet radio shows or podcast for Franklin Matters.

The first snow has already fallen and the first outlook on the FY 2012 budget was previewed at the last Town Council meeting. Let's take a few minutes to listen to Town Administrator Jeff Nutting's update on the FY 2012 budget.

Notable quotes from Jeff Nutting:

“Original contract for architect came in about $860,000, we knocked it down about 3$00,000. the MSBA was surprised no one else had rejected a contract.”

“We are trying to watch the dollars right out of the gate and I think the committee is doing a good job.”

I look back over the last eight years, we have cut 1 out of 6 municipal jobs. We still provide a high level of quality services

“The CPI has avg 2.9%, our wage increases have avg 2.3% so we have been below the cost of living over several years.”

“On health insurance, the increase overall has been over 12% over the last several years. We have been 6.3% so we have been beating the bench mark. We have been doing the best and working with our employees.”

“In FY 2011, seven of nine unions on the municipal side have already agreed to contracts with zero increase.”

“I think we should save a big chunk of cash for unemployment for FY 2012”

“We are going to present a balanced budget. People say why can't the Town balance a budget, we have balanced a budget for a couple hundred years. People say, why can't we live within our means? We always live within our means. That is the law. The issue is there is gap between revenues that are available and services that are provided. And that is why we have 50 less employees than we had eight years ago and that is why the schools have cut back as well. So not only do we reduce jobs but I think this body knows as well that we have consolidated school and Town services and look at sharing services with other towns and look at any venue possible to make the ends work and to provide high quality municipal services.”

“We have a four to six million dollar gap for next fiscal year.”

“We'll be in a position to present the balanced budget. And that will obviously lead to make policy decisions on the Council's part as to priorities. A million dollars is twenty jobs, so you can do the math, is it 60 jobs or 80 jobs.”

“Our expense budgets are really small, they have been cut and cut over the years. We have a big challenge, we will meet the challenge.”

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that

  • If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening!

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 and Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to listen to the audio podcast.

Franklin, MA

Road construction updates

Going out and about one can observe that there is progress on the various road construction projects.

Pulaski Blvd in Bellingham was detoured for several weeks as they rebuilt a culvert/bridge. Now it is paved with at least the first coat of blacktop. This picture captured the dirt base before it got covered.

Wachusett St is being re-done. Last year, work was done on the water line. This year additional work is being done apparently on the sewer line. As reported last week, they were starting to pave in front of the Parmenter School.  They have at least paved that section with the base coat.

I did not get a chance to grab a picture but there is utility line work of some sort being done on Summer St going up the hill past Crocker Ave.

Franklin, MA

In the News - McGovern, treasurer/collector

U.S. Rep. McGovern has cancerous thyroid removed

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin voters may be asked on treasurer plan again

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

School Committee - School calendar proposals

Updated 11/10/10 - based upon the info at the School Committee meeting, these calendars will be revised before being submitted for approval as there are some inaccuracies in these versions. Once I receive the corrected calendars, these will be replaced with the proper calendars.

Amongst the discussion items on the School Committee agenda are proposed calendars for the next two school years; 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

School year 2011-2012
Choice 1-A


Choice 2-B


School year 2012-2013
Choice 1-A


Choice 2-B


Note: they way they are numbered these seem to be two options taken from additional choices. I kept the numbering to avoid potential confusion.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the documents

Franklin, MA

School Committee: Superintendent's Update - documents

These two documents are part of the Superintendent's Update on the School Committee agenda for Tuesday, Nov 9th.


FPS SSR Report Final2

How these documents fit into the context will be discovered Tuesday evening.

Franklin, MA

Mark your calendars for two tax filing dates this coming April

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 11/8/10

Federal and state income taxes each will be due a little later than normal this year, but not on the same days.

Back in 2005, the District of Columbia chose to make Emancipation Day a district holiday, which meant it became a day off for federal workers (including those in the Internal Revenue Service) in Washington D.C.

This year, April 15 (a Friday), which is the normal filing due date for both state and federal taxes, is also on Emancipation Day. If the IRS is closed in Washington D.C., federal taxes are not due on that date.

As a result, federal income taxes will not be due until Monday, April 18.

But, in Massachusetts, Monday, April 18, is Patriot's Day, a state holiday, so state income taxes will not be due until April 19.

The business of not filing taxes on April 15 is not that unusual. Last year, due to extensive flooding, taxpayers from the Cape west to Worcester County had until May 11 to file state and federal taxes. In 2007, taxpayers in flooded areas had until April 26 to file. And there have been many years when, due to Patriot's Day, state income taxes were not due until April 18.

So this coming tax year, pending any last minute weather events, federal income tax will be due on April 18, and state income tax on April 19. 

Things you can do from here:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Franklin Newcomers Club

The 37th Annual Craft Fair
will be held Saturday, November 13, 2010
from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm at
Tri-County Regional Vocational High School
147 Pond Street, Franklin, MA

Admission is $3 per person, children under 12 are free. Our club proudly supports the Franklin Food Pantry and we will be accepting non-perishable food donations at the fair.

We will have over 70 crafters showcasing beautiful and original handmade crafts such as glass, woodworking, art, fabric, holiday decorations, home and garden crafts, jewelry and much more.

The Franklin Newcomers Club is a social and charitable club for area residents. A portion of the proceeds from the Craft Fair benefits local organizations. For more information, visit www.franklinnewcomers.com.

Franklin, MA