Sunday, April 29, 2012

Walk, Bike to School Day May 2

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 4/25/12

Walk to SchoolThousands of elementary and middle school-aged children will celebrate Walk and Bicycle to School Day on Wednesday, May 2 during events promoted through MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program.

In 2011, 162 schools from across the Commonwealth participated in this event, the largest to date.   The Safe Routes to School program has added more than 100 new partner schools this year.

MassDOT's Safe Routes to School program works with students, parents, school staff and local police departments across the Commonwealth to promote walking and bicycling to school.

"Massachusetts Walk and Bicycle to School Day reminds us that walking to school can be a fun, healthy and safe way to get to school," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.  "These efforts strongly support our goals of promoting healthy transportation modes through the GreenDOT initiative and Healthy Transportation Compact."

Increasing the number of students who walk and bicycle to school helps improve students' health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.

According to the US Department of Transportation, fewer than 16 percent of children walk or bicycle to classes.  School-related traffic can contribute more than 10 percent of morning rush hour traffic volumes in some communities, as well as significant air pollution. MassDOT established the Massachusetts Walk to School Day in 2007 to encourage healthy choices.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Navigating school information

Realtor Warren Reynolds website is full of good information about Franklin in addition to the homes for sale in the area. Two recent additions to his page are helpful to navigate around the school department website and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

He points out the key entry pages for the School Dept and School Committee. He gets you to the key comparison sections for each school district within the DESE page. Warren provides some screen shots and links to help you find the pages. Once there, you are free to explore further.

Official Sites for Franklin, MA Public Schools

Freeze Warning! Be Prepared

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Growing In Franklin by Franklin Community Gardens on 4/27/12

A note to our Gardeners from King Street Garden Coordinator Chris Clay:

Hello Everyone,

Tonight is the reason we don't plant our tomatoes and other hot weather plants until May, despite the amazing weather we've been having.  There is a strong chance of freeze tonight, and if you have planted tomatoes in your plot they will need protection to survive the night if the temperature dips to freezing.  If you do have tomatoes planted you have a couple of options to save them.

One is to transplant them out of the garden and keep them indoors overnight.  Tomato root systems are incredibly durable and can handle the transfer.  This is the only fool proof way to save them that I know of.

Another would be to purchase some floating row covers to cover your plot.  They will provide at least a couple of degrees of protection and may make the difference, though it will be dicey.  You can add additional coverage by placing multiple 2 liter bottles filled with warm water in the plot under the row covers.  This will provide a couple more degrees of protection.  If you buy a light floating row cover leave the cloth as doubled up as you can while covering the bed.  If you have other non-tomato warm weather plants this may be your best chance to save them.

Option three is to gamble that the weather service is wrong and see what happens.  In the worst case scenario you can always replant.

Peas and other cold hardy plants should do fine tonight, though a row cover never hurts.  This is primarily a warning for anyone who has planted warm weather plants.


Chris Clay

If you don't have any row covers, I have had luck with old towels and blankets, prop them up with sticks or pots or whatever works.  Just be sure to remove them in the morning!
 ~ Amy

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Franklin High School Experience

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Lifelong Learning by Pandora Carlucci on 4/27/12

Registrations for the Franklin High School Experience (HSE) 2012 are arriving daily. The HSE is a one-week program that brings together students from several middle schools: Annie Sullivan Middle School, Horace Mann Middle School, Remington Middle School, the middle school from the BFCCPS, and some private middle schools.

Directed by Ms. Cerce, Director of Health and Physical Education for the Franklin Public Schools District, this program welcomes all incoming grade 9 students to FHS. During the week of August 13, students will have the opportunity to meet and to ask questions of the Principal and Assistant Principals, the Athletic Director and the Director of Music.

Students will be introduced to the technology used by the high school: Its Learning. Additionally, they will participate in Challenge by Choice Project Adventure Games, a scavenger hunt and other activities. The students begin and end the day with a large group gathering. Later, they will separated into cohorts of 12 or 14 students, which are led by a FHS faculty member. Students have lunch as a group each day ... pizza, a cook out, and more.

Each freshman student receives a Class of 2016 HSE tee-shirt and a Class of 2016 key lanyard. Last summer almost 2/3 of the incoming freshman class participated in the HSE. We hope to have 100% of incoming grade 9 students participate this summer.

 You can register online:, select Lifelong, select Summer Program, select High School Experience. If you have a question: e-mail us: telephone us: 508-553-4814 Come and be part of the fun!!

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In the News: Dunkin' Dash, students charged

Norfolk Dunkin' Dash is Sunday, April 29

Friday, April 27, 2012

Franklin, MA: School Dept - Proposed Budget FY 2013

The presentation document used for the FY 2013 School Budget can be viewed here:

Related posts:
Summary budget documents

Budget hearing 4/25/12

Healthy Kids Day® - Hockomock Y - Sat - Apr 28

More than 1,900 Ys across the country are taking part in the celebration, meant to kick start physical activity and learning throughout the summer – a critical out-of-school time for kids. 

Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative of the Y to improve the health and well-being of kids, is filled with fun, active play and educational activities that will help parents improve their kids’ lifestyles for the long term. Research shows that without access to activities that stimulate the mind and body, kids are more prone to gain weight and fall behind academically over the summer months. 
“At the Hockomock Area YMCA, we know that when the school year ends, many kids lose exposure to activities that keep them moving and learning. Healthy Kids Day will help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to stay physically and intellectually active in the summer,” said Lauren Marciszyn, Director of Youth & Community Wellness, Hockomock Area YMCA. “Summer is just around the corner and is an ideal time for kids to get out and grow so they are healthier and sharper when the next school year begins.” 
The Hockomock Area YMCA’s event will take place at all three branches located in Franklin, Foxboro and North Attleboro from 10 – 1 PM and this free day of fun will feature vendors, give-a-ways and activities for all ages. 
A leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y holds Healthy Kids Day to teach healthy habits and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity through active play. As part of this initiative, the Y – along with hundreds of thousands of parents and kids nationwide – is taking on summer by addressing critical gaps in health and education that cause kids to be at risk for childhood obesity and suffer summer learning loss.

Activities at the 45 Forge Hill Rd branch in Franklin will include:
  • Bouncy House
  • Dancy Party
  • Ms. Madge Ickles' Grand return from her world tour
  • Human Board Game, with you as the pieces
  • Face Painting
  • Grocery Store Madness
  • Open Gymnastics
  • Planting
  • Camp Extreme
  • Water Balloon Challenge Course
  • Slip & Slide with Paint
  • Luke the Lion from Whitson's Nutrition Safari
  • Digital Finger Print Scans
  • Raffles
  • Give-a-ways

From 10 – 1 PM on Saturday, Apr 28 at the 45 Forge Hill Rd branch in Franklin

Vendors including: Medway Community Farms, Friends of Franklin Community Gardens, Stop & Shop, New York Life Insurance, Franklin Police and Fire Departments, Wildtree, Van Roon Chiropractic, Garelick Farms, Franklin and Bellingham Foodservice Departments, Walgreens, and more!

Important Details
Come dressed in clothes that can get dirty
Bring your bathing suit and towel for family swim from 1-3 (theme will be "Splash")

Downtown Partnership; May 3 - Meeting Agenda

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Downtown Partnership by (Franklin Downtown Partnership) on 4/26/12

Franklin Downtown Partnership General Meeting Agenda
Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
Dean College Campus Center
Golder Room

I.       Open Meeting

II.      Adoption of Agenda

III.     Introductions

IV.    Town Updates -- Jeff Nutting
         a. New Chief of Police Stephan Semerjian

V.     Report from Executive Director
         a. 2012 event updates
         b. Membership and sponsorship reminders

VI.    Report from Strawberry Stroll Chair -- Nicole Fortier
         a. Thursday, June 7, 4-7 p.m.
         b. Sponsors needed

VII.   Report from Harvest Festival Chairs -- Mary Graff & Jeanne Sherlock

VIII.  Report from Beautification Chair -- Eileen Mason
         a. Saturday, May 19 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
         b. Volunteers and sponsors needed

IX.    Networking Luncheon -- Joel Carrara

X.     Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail -- Mark Kaplan & Ed Barth

XI.   New Business
        a. Cake Bar opening
        b. Art Center -- May 5, 5-7p.m. Anniversary Party

XII.  Adjourn

Next General Meeting will be Thursday, September 6

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HMEA 11th Annual Independence 5K - May 20th

The poster talking about the 11th Annual Independence 5K for HMEA is colorful!

If you want to register as a runner, you can do that directly here

or if you want to register and raise some funds for HMEA, you can do that here

You can also view the document here

Officials investigate Franklin High assault caught on tape

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Brian Benson on 4/26/12

Police are investigating an assault today at Franklin High School that was videotaped and posted on a social media website, according to police and school officials.

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The text of the School Department broadcast to the school community:
April 26, 2012 
Dear Members of the Franklin Public Schools Community: 
Franklin Public Schools has learned that a videotape has been released on a social media site that depicts a Franklin High School student physically assaulting another student today at Franklin High School. There were no weapons involved and one student was injured. We are committing our full resources to investigating and responding to this appalling incident in our school community. 
We have also referred this matter to the Franklin Police Department and are giving them our complete cooperation. Franklin Public Schools is fully committed to supporting students and families who have been impacted by this incident and has made counselors available to meet with students and families. 
This cowardly act is disturbing and it does not reflect the expectations we espouse as a school district or as a community. We are committed to ensuring all of our students are safe while they are in school. We will continue to collaborate with the Franklin Police as the investigation proceeds and we will keep you updated. 
Maureen Sabolinski
Superintendent of Schools

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finance Committee - Budget Hearing FY 2013

The Finance Committee approved the budget put forward for Fiscal Year 2013 on Wednesday evening. The total of $102,179,773 provides the same level of service with no program reductions and no increase in school fees. Some fees on the Town side of the budget were previously approved and their revenue is accounted for.

The refinancing effort of current debt to lower the interest cost will be beneficial especially in the area of the debt exclusions. The lower interest rates were announced during the meeting as the bond sales was held on Tuesday. The final impact to the dollar amounts overall will be available later.

While the FinCom approved the total budget, they did not explicitly approve the transfer of the $350,000 from the stabilization fund for use in the budget. I expect that approval to be scheduled for their May meeting next week. Their vote on the matter is usually an input to the Town Council for their deliberation and vote.

The collection of posts from the Finance Committee budget hearing are found here:

The summary budget documents referenced can be found here

Franklin music students win gold

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Staff reports on 4/25/12

The Franklin Middle Schools Combined String Orchestra and the Franklin Repertory String Orchestra both took home gold medals from the regional three-day Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) festival.

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Summer Glee

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Lifelong Learning by Pandora Carlucci on 4/25/12

April 25, 2012 This summer the Music Department and Lifelong Learning are offering Summer "Glee" for students entering grades 4 and 5, and Teen Summer "Glee" for students entering grades 7 to 9. Students will experience singing in a choral setting where they will learn and practice their singing techniques. The summer music "Glee" camp will include "Glee" music from the TV show, as well as other pop music hits to be performed in a concert at the end of the music camp. The "Glee" camp will meet from July 23 to August 3 at Franklin High School. Register online at, select Lifelong from the top gold banner, select Summer program, select Summer music. Come and be a part of this fun and musical experience.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Live reporting - FinCom

Citizens Comments - none

Approval of Minutes - none

Action Items:
Appropriations: $151,114 – Wages (Contract Settlement) Source: FY 12 Additional State Aid

Of the 9 unions in negotiation, we have four tentative agreements
This amount may cover all the nine settlements when the Council approves them next week
The money is coming from the extra State allocation provided last October, 2011
(add link to announcement to tie back) not in free cash but if not used, could end up in free cash

Exact line item to be determined, once the agreements get finalized, the line items
the money would be a one time payment to the employees not increasing their base, hence not in the FY 2013 budget

Motion to approve, passed 6-0


budget subcommittee discussion on the $350
will be coming back from the stabilization account rather than free cash

Tax levy is what it is
state aid is determined by the State
combination of past collections, expectations, some are seasonal
take a deduction to create a safety net
motor vehicle excise will come in as expected
DOR won't allow forecast higher than collected the prior year, allowing within 10% of estimations
need to work within a narrow band that is fiscally prudent
we can increase a revenue if the Council votes to increase rates
action needs to justify the revenues

Question on the tax levy amount used to set the 2.5% and forecast for FY 2013
need to exclude the debt exclusion amounts from the levy base to calculate the 2.5% increase

we are getting a lull now, the real crunch will be 2014 when the state faces their numbers issue

approx $340K from meals tax

anything in misc non-recurring can not be counted as an expectation for the next year

interest income is really hitting the bottom, it is good for borrowing

other excise, is the hotel, motel we use in the non-operational accounts but it is in there

Q - If we do get extra money from the State, what would we do with it?
A - I think we would go with the Schools to avoid the draw down of the reserves
this budget is 99% to bed,I am already thinking of 2014
I'd like to cover the Schools as they are almost 60% of the budget and driving the bus

We get $52M in tax revenue with the levy, we have gotten cut $3M in state aid. Our days of big numbers from the state are long gone.

We have 20% less employees than we had years ago, you've seen the numbers on all the departments, they are all doing an excellent job. When you at rock bottom you will face difficulty

Schools going up 1.6 the levy is going up 2.1 

Reading line item by line item for approval, seconded, passing 6-0
if any one of these differs, it will be noted.

The line items correspond to the following document

Comment from Feldman about the Library and while there is an increase this year, what will happen next year?

Side note Bruins are loosing 1-0 to the Capitals

Bond sale, note sale and refunding sale occured today
AA stable reafirmed
105 day note for 2.5M at .3681%
1.76% came it from 7 bids
refinance bonds some of the Keller Sullivan will come off the debt exclusion amount
exact amounts on the refinancing will come in in a couple of days

motion to adjourn

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Budget Hearing

Present: Roche, Quinn, Messere, Feldman, Goldsmith, Dufour
Absent: Dewsnap, Smith, Huempfner

Budget Hearing
Education – Franklin Public Schools C-1

Miriam Goodman, Maureen Sabolinski, Paula Mullen, Sue Rohrbach, Sally Winslow

presentation may be available later

review of expectations on revenue for the School Budget
coming in at 52,170,000 which was the Town Administrator recommended number

$1,650,000 increase over prior year
health care costs and contractual obligations for employees are two key drivers

$850K loss of revenue due to expiration of Federal Funds
$916K due to contract increase

Franklin versus state average $10,693 vs $13,371 lower in every category


The Schools are drawing down some of their revolving funds to meet this budget total

No increase in fees for buses or athletics

$3.3 million in revolving accounts as a balance (from fees and transportation items)

Money from this year transportation fees, circuit breaker, etc is used for next years budget

Circuit breaker increase helps to offset the special education out of district placements

differences among the individual school budgets due to population and teacher placement
principals get an allocation per pupil for their discretionary use

Teachers at the middle and high school cost more than a new elementary teacher

Reallocation of instructional materials some of which are covered by capital budget items, to use the budget funds for classroom teachers

Parents are partners in this, either individually or through the PCC's, the support is essential to the success of our program

Keller parents were doing mulching and flowers today, the community value of that is priceless

Administration 51% below state average, we can be having too many administrators if that is the case

Secretarial agreement came in with an increase of days worked during the school year to bring them over three years to the full school year. This year coming is when the agreement and days increase finishes

Fees generally come in about as forecast, we shouldn't see too much of a change there

Only curriculum changes are due to the state changes, aligning the grade level frameworks to meet standards. No program level reductions or eliminations this year.

We do need a principal at each school, especially with all the paperwork and other things they do

ECDC runs a tuition based program, this is used to offset the educational assistance
The change noted is more due to accounting for the funds than a significant change

Pay-to-ride using some of the reserves not that they are getting additional riders