Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mass Senate Unveils VOTES Act - Discussion scheduled for Oct 6, 2021


Mass Senate Unveils VOTES Act

 Senate Set to Consider Landmark Voting Reform Bill

Legislation makes vote-by-mail permanent, expands early voting options, implements same-day voter registration, and ushers in other groundbreaking election reforms

Today (9/31/21), the Massachusetts State Senate unveiled S.2545, An Act fostering voter opportunities, trust, equity and security (the VOTES Act). This comprehensive voting reform bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), would permanently codify the popular mail-in and early voting options used in Massachusetts in 2020. The bill would also enact same-day voter registration and make a series of other improvements to the Commonwealth's election administration process.

The VOTES Act takes crucial steps to expand the right to vote in Massachusetts at a time when states across the country are rolling back voting rights: since the start of this year, 18 states have passed 30 laws limiting voter access. The Senate bill would also take steps to align the Commonwealth with potential changes to national voting laws by including multiple provisions, such as same-day voter registration and no-excuse voting by mail, which were included in the For the People Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

The Legislature previously enacted legislation to temporarily extend vote-by-mail and early voting options through December 15, 2021.

"True representative democracy is a perpetual work in progress, requiring vigilance on the part of citizens  and constant attention from lawmakers," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "One of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we had the chance to prove that the voting reforms that so many have advocated for can and do work. As too many states across our nation seek to limit voting rights, I'm proud that the Massachusetts Senate can show the power of not only protecting but expanding voters' access to the ballot box. I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Senate Majority Leader Creem, Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, Election Laws Committee Chair Finegold for their tireless efforts on the VOTES Act, as well as the voting rights advocates who never gave up the fight."

"At this time in our country's history, we know now, more than ever, how critical it is to ensure that all voices are heard in our democracy.  And this bill embraces that ideal," said Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem (D. Newton). "The provisions of this bill will increase voter participation and modernize our voter registration system while maintaining an efficient and secure election process.  Voters want, and deserve, to have these options available to them in our future elections."

"This landmark legislation removes barriers to the ballot box and makes voting more accessible than ever for all citizens of Massachusetts," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. "Making sure everyone has the ability to vote is one of the most important things we can do as legislators, and I am proud of the collaborative and cooperative effort that resulted in this bill. Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her continued leadership, and Senators Creem and Finegold for their steadfast advocacy to further enshrine the right to vote into the fabric of our Commonwealth."

"This landmark election reform bill will empower voters and strengthen our democracy," said Senator Barry Finegold (D - Andover), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws. "In 2020, mail-in and early voting options helped generate record-breaking turnout. It is now time to build on the progress we have already made and make permanent improvements to our elections. The Senate's proposed legislation will move our election system into the modern era and help make sure that every voter can exercise their fundamental right to vote."

In the 2020 general election, more people voted than ever before in Massachusetts. Approximately 3.66 million residents cast ballots, totaling 76% of all registered voters. Voters took advantage of new voting options: 42% of voters voted by mail and another 23% voted in person during early voting windows. Similarly, over 1.7 million people voted in last year's state primary, the highest number of voters ever in a state primary. Close to half of all voters voted by mail during the primary.

"I commend the Senate on proposing these critical election reforms," stated Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. "Across the country, we are seeing bills advance in state legislatures that threaten the freedom to vote and would bring our country back to historic levels of disenfranchisement. Here in Massachusetts, it is essential that we take these important steps to protect the freedom to vote and to ensure the accessibility and security of our elections."

"The VOTES Act is a landmark election reform package that will make our democracy more accessible and equitable. It removes barriers to voting and strengthens our election infrastructure," stated Geoff Foster, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. "After everything our democracy has been through this last year, the time for these reforms is now."

"When voting rights are under attack around the country, we're grateful to the leaders in our state Senate and House who know this is the moment for Massachusetts to do all we can to strengthen equitable access to the ballot for all," stated Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

"We are so glad to see that the Massachusetts Senate is expanding voting rights at a time when these rights are under attack nationally," stated Juan M. Cofield, President of NAACP, the New England Area Conference. "Our Commonwealth is stronger when more people are able to vote, and the VOTES Act provides even more voting opportunities for all people to make their voices heard. This legislation will also work toward eliminating the barriers that have historically limited the right to vote among Black communities and communities of color."

"Not all voters have equal access to the ballot in Massachusetts. The VOTES Act seeks to address the many challenges that voters face and to make our democracy even stronger," stated Beth Huang, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table.

"At a moment when there are so many intractable problems that face us; here's a bill—the VOTES Act—that gives us solutions: it takes down barriers to voting and makes democracy more accessible to more Bay Staters. Doesn't that sound glorious?" stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG.

"We're thrilled to see the Senate take this critical step," said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE. "Massachusetts is one step closer to passing voting reforms that will make our elections dramatically more accessible and inclusive."

"The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is delighted the Senate will take up a strong voting bill that includes same-day voter registration along with the expanded mail and in-person early voting that produced record turnout last fall," stated Patricia Comfort, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. "At a time when far too many states are actively limiting access to the ballot box, we are proud that the Massachusetts Senate is moving to make voting easier and even more accessible in our state."

Responding to trends in voting and building off previous actions taken by the Legislature, the VOTES Act contains the following key provisions:

Same-Day Voter Registration

  • Individuals would be able to register to vote during early voting periods or on the day of a primary or election.
  • Twenty other states and the District of Columbia already use same-day registration.

Early Voting In-Person

  • The bill would require two weeks (including two weekends) of early voting in-person for biennial state elections and any municipal elections held on the same day.
  • The bill would require one week (including one weekend) of early voting in-person for a presidential or state primary and any municipal elections held on the same day.
  • The bill would allow municipalities to opt-in to early voting in-person for any municipal election not held concurrently with another election.

Permanent No-Excuse Mail-In Voting

  • The bill would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to send out mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters on July 15 of every even-numbered year; the Secretary of the Commonwealth would have the option to include these applications as part of mailings already required to be sent by the Secretary.
  • As in 2020, postage would be guaranteed for mail-in ballot applications and ballots.
  • As in 2020, mail-in ballots would be accepted for a biennial state election if mailed on or by election day and received by 5PM on the third day after the election.

Additional Flexibility For Local Officials

  • The bill would give municipalities the option to set up secure drop boxes for mail-in ballots.
  • The bill would allow election officials to pre-process mail-in and early voting ballots in advance of Election Day.
  • The bill would give municipalities discretion as to the use of a check-out list at a polling location.

Accommodations For People With Disabilities

  • The bill would allow a voter with disabilities to request accommodations from the Secretary of the Commonwealth to vote by mail for state elections.
  • Accommodations would include: electronic and accessible instructions, ballot application, ballot, and a voter affidavit that can be submitted electronically.

Jail-Based Voting Reforms

  • The bill would help ensure that individuals who are incarcerated who are currently eligible to vote are provided with voting information and materials to exercise their right to vote in every state primary and election.
  • The bill would require correctional facilities to display and distribute information about voting rights and procedures, as prepared by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  • The bill would require facilities to assist individuals who are incarcerated in registering, applying for and returning mail ballots.

Joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC)

  • The bill would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to enter into an agreement with ERIC no later than July 1, 2022.
  • Thirty other states have already joined ERIC, which helps states keep more accurate voting rolls.

The Senate will debate and vote on the VOTES Act during a formal session on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Link to the Legislation ->  https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2545

 

"the Constitution did not allow Americans always to behave however they chose"

"The United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.

In 1777, smallpox was a big enough problem for the bedraggled American army that George Washington thought it could jeopardize the Revolution. An outbreak had already led to one American defeat, at the Battle of Quebec. To prevent more, Washington ordered immunizations — done quietly, so the British would not hear how many Americans were sick — for all troops who had not yet had the virus.

It worked. The number of smallpox cases plummeted, and Washington’s army survived a war of attrition against the world’s most powerful country. The immunization mandate, as Ron Chernow wrote in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Washington, “was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.”
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/30/briefing/vaccine-mandate-covid.html

Health officials in Newark checked smallpox vaccination status in 1931.Credit...Bettmann, via Getty Images
Credit...Bettmann, via Getty Images


FY 2022 second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property tax bill payment due by November 1, 2021

FY 2022 second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property tax bill payment due by November 1, 2021

Payments received after the due date are charged 14% interest.

Treasurer Collector Kerri A. Bertone has mailed the Fiscal 2022 second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills.  Payment is due by November 1, 2021.  Payments received after the due date are charged 14% interest.


FY 2022 second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property tax bill
FY 2022 second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property tax bill


Friday, October 1, 2021

Franklin's Event Outlook: Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2021

A beautiful weather weekend seems to be on tap, just in time for the Farmers Market today and Harvest Festival on Saturday. Pick up a pumpkin (or more than one) at St John's Episcopal to add seasonal color to d├ęcor. 
 
Friday, October 1
2:00pm - Farmers Market
3:00pm - Pumpkin Patch
3:30pm - Kids craft activity by Library Youth Services

Saturday, October 2
10:00am - Pumpkin Patch
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)
12:00pm - FAA - Art Exhibit
12:00pm - Harvest Festival - 2021

Sunday, October 3
10:00am - Pumpkin Patch
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:  https://forms.gle/oPdi8X3ZbHHyrHzo6

The Town meeting calendar is found  https://www.franklinma.gov/calendar
The School district calendar is found   https://www.franklinps.net/calendar-by-event-type/26

Community Calendar
Community Calendar

School Committee candidate John McCormack responds to questions

For the following you can read FM = Steve Sherlock and JM as John McCormack, candidate for School Committee. The answers were provided by John via email in response to the offer made to all the candidates for the Franklin Election Nov 2, 2021. 

Publication of the answers or interview responses does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. This is my public service effort to enable informed voters for the election Nov 2, 2021.

FM = Briefly, what is your ‘Franklin story’? Tell us briefly about your life here.

JM = My Franklin story has just begun and my family and I could not be more excited! We were living in a smaller home in Norwood, MA and since we have lots of family in the region, we wanted to stay in the area. I always heard great things about Franklin from co-workers as well as Norwood people who moved here, and my wife who grew up in Plainville heard great things about Franklin as well. I have been a high school History teacher for the last 16 years, and my wife has been a guidance counselor for the last 16 years. When we researched the schools here, we made the decision to move to Franklin in 2019 with no reservations at all. Although we looked at homes in other nearby towns, the major deciding factor that drew us to Franklin was the fact that they had high-performing schools. I am running for school committee because I want to ensure that my children and all the children of Franklin are attending a school district that is constantly striving to improve. 

FM = Participating in elections is one of the key freedoms of American life and voting is one of the primary responsibilities of citizens. While the law does not require citizens to vote, voting is a very important part of any democracy. What can you tell us about your own voting record? And if you have not been an active voter, please tell us why? And how important is it that we elect people who are active participants in the election process?

JM = I have consistently voted in local, state, and federal elections since I was 18 years old. My American Government class and AP History classes that I took in high school sparked my interest in history, debate, and politics, as well as inspired me to become a History teacher. At the end of the day voters in a local election are going to elect people based on where they stand on important issues and hopefully not just elect people based on their participation in past elections. Given the fact that local offices are mainly volunteer positions that do not lead to financial gain, I would imagine anyone running for one of these offices would be extremely invested in the future of their community regardless of their previous voting record. 

FM = Have you been vaccinated for COVID-19? Do you think there should be a mask mandate in Franklin? Finally, what measures should the government take to protect the public from the virus, and how should these efforts be delineated between the local, State, and Federal governments?

JM = I am vaccinated for COVID-19. Personally, I have no problem revealing this information, but I realize why many Franklin residents would feel uncomfortable answering this question as it could be interpreted as a violation of medical privacy. Considering there is no federal or state mask mandate and Franklin is not a densely populated city, I do not believe Franklin should have a mask mandate. The state of Massachusetts has access to the most data and resources to effectively protect the people that live in this state. Local governments are obviously very aware of how the pandemic is affecting their regions, but their decisions of how to best protect people have been incredibly inconsistent. Although there is a DESE mandate for masks in schools until November 1st, at some point, local districts are going to be able to make decisions on COVID restrictions and mitigation policies. There is no reason for Franklin to have more COVID-based restrictions than what is being mandated at the state level. 

FM = What are the 3 most important actions you believe are needed to move Franklin forward?

JM =  Increase Supports to Address Learning Deficits Due to COVID:
 The teachers of Franklin worked miracles during the COVID pandemic to deliver instruction while keeping students engaged. However, the teachers could not control variables like technology issues and access or the situations in the homes of students. Students during COVID still missed a massive amount of in-person instruction, and this undoubtedly led to learning deficits for all students. While my wife and I were both working during the school day, a very close relative who was a teacher of 35 years sat right next to my 2nd grade son to ensure that he was able to navigate the complexities of remote learning and make sure that he stayed on task. I was teaching remotely this past year until after Columbus Day and I continued to teach remotely every Wednesday until April, so I was an eyewitness to the challenge that remote learning posed to teachers, students, parents, and caretakers. I often wondered what kids were going through that had to sit at a computer completely alone for hours at a time while their parents had to work? I spoke with many veteran and retired elementary school teachers and reading specialists because I was concerned about learning deficits specifically related to reading, and what those deficits might lead to moving forward. These teachers told me that when a student enters 4th grade, if they are significantly behind in reading, those deficits are very likely to follow a student all the way up until their high school graduation. Franklin cannot just pay lip service to addressing learning deficits or think that the mere mentioning of learning deficits due to COVID in a school improvement plan will yield results. Goals and benchmarks related to learning deficits must continue for years to come in order to ensure that a whole generation of Franklin students are not negatively impacted. 

Align Curriculum At The Elementary and Middle School Level:
I have taught high school for the last 16 years, and a consistent issue that I have observed are large discrepancies in how prepared students are when entering high school. I firmly believe that these discrepancies do not begin in middle school, but they begin at the elementary level and these issues arise due to curriculum not being aligned across all schools. This is a systemic issue within school districts, and in no way am I placing the blame on individual teachers for this problem. Franklin public schools need to align the curriculum at the elementary and middle school levels and teachers must be provided with more consistent training for how the complex puzzle of an aligned curriculum fits together. I am not saying that the curriculum needs to be micromanaged to strip all autonomy and creativity away from teachers, but no matter what elementary school a student comes from when they enter middle school, that student should have the same academic access as the rest of their peers, and the same should hold true for when middle school students enter high school. If the curriculum were more consistently aligned at the lower levels, when students entered high school, they would be more prepared to enroll in more rigorous courses. 

Increase Parental Engagement in the Schools by Expanding Parental Voice:
If parents feel that their voices are being heard, they will be more likely to engage in their child’s education.  This will lead to more consistent dialogue between parents and all school staff which will ultimately benefit the child. From my own experience the schools respond well to parent inquiries, but increasing parental engagement goes beyond replying to parent questions or concerns. To increase parental engagement in a way that allows parents to be stakeholders in their child’s education, the school committee and the district must solicit more parental input through the use of parent surveys, public meetings, and parental participation in decision-making groups that determine such crucial issues like curriculum and school-wide policies and procedures. 

FM =
 What experience or background will help you to serve in this role? Or what do you bring to the table that helps to set you apart from the others?

JM =   My experience as a high school teacher for the last 16 years gives me the knowledge that I need to serve on the school committee. I can approach policies and decisions from the perspective of a teacher that understands how they will affect the instruction of teachers and the learning of students. Being on a school committee should mean that the committee member is not satisfied with the status quo of the school district, but instead, the committee member is constantly striving for the district to be better. As a teacher that has worked on whole school improvement initiatives at both Everett High School and King Philip Regional High School, I feel confident that I can be a committee member that helps Franklin schools improve in the short term and thrive in the long term. I do not feel comfortable saying what sets me apart from the other candidates because I do not want to devalue the work of the members that have served on the committee. All of the candidates can bring unique skills and perspectives to the school committee and like me, I am sure that they are invested in the future of Franklin. Personally, I know that I am not afraid of a challenge or drastic change. Four years ago I started teaching Advanced Placement History and I had to completely immerse myself into a new curriculum and an entirely new method of teaching that I had no experience doing. Although the planning, teaching, and grading for an AP course never gets easier, I can confidently say that the course has solidified my belief that consistent effort leads to results. Any of my former students would say that I consistently try to motivate them by talking about the value of perseverance and taking pride in their work, and I have always believed that even if I do not have the most experience when I start something new, my willingness to work hard day after day will always lead to success. 


FM =  With the Franklin Public School District managing the largest portion of Franklin's budget, what are your ideas to help solve the structural deficit in the operating budget?

JM =  My main approach to solving the structural deficit in the district’s operating budget would be for me to learn everything I can about the school budget. A structural deficit in a school budget does not happen overnight, and short term and long term solutions will be needed to fix this complex problem. I cannot say that my ideas to address the budget deficit will magically solve an issue that is plaguing many local districts, but I can ask as many questions as possible to find out which segments of the budget contribute the most to the deficit. Once I have had the chance to learn as much about the budget as I can, my main goal would be finding out if parts of the budget are being mismanaged, or if money could be spent more efficiently to help close the budget shortfalls. 

Some of the questions I would want to ask about the budget would include:
  • What is the budget for professional development for teachers, and I want to know how much of this professional development actually relates to teacher instruction and student outcomes?
  • What percentage of the budget is made up of transportation costs and is there any way for money to be spent more efficiently related to this?
  • How much does Franklin spend on outside placements for Special Education, and are there any programs that the district could implement to bring more students back into the district? 
  • How many collaboratives or cost-sharing programs for outside placement or Special Education services is Franklin participating in?
  • How did the closing of the Davis Thayer School affect the operating budget?
  • According to DESE stats on school enrollment, Franklin had nearly 6,000 students in 2011 and 4,800 this past year. How has this decrease in enrollment affected state aid(since some of state aid is based on enrollment), and what is the projected enrollment over the next few years? Lastly, how many students has Franklin lost over the past few years to Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School, and why are families choosing the charter school over our district schools? 
For additional information about John, or to follow up on a question, visit his Facebook page ->   https://www.facebook.com/McCormack4SC

School Committee candidate John McCormack
School Committee candidate John McCormack


Manufacturing Caucus Hosts 6th Annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony at Polar Park

AirLoc Corporation of Franklin, Massachusetts was nominated for the Manufacturer of the Year Award at the 6th Annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony held in the DCU Club at Polar Park in Worcester. 

AirLoc was nominated by State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin).  
For over 60 years the AirLoc name has stood for high-quality products in the areas of vibration isolation engineering, structure-borne noise control and precise machine leveling.  James Aimone III, Vice-President of Operations, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

L-R,  Senator Eric P. Lesser (Co-Chair of the Caucus), James Aimone III, AirLoc's VP of Operations and Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), House Chair of the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus.
L-R,  Senator Eric P. Lesser (Co-Chair of the Caucus), James Aimone III, AirLoc's VP of Operations and Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), House Chair of the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus.


“The Legislature, under the leadership of Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen E. Spilka, has spearheaded several major economic development packages which focus on improving the renaissance of manufacturing, with the goal of making Massachusetts the place to build things,” said Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), House Chair of the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus.  

6th Annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony held in the DCU Club at Polar Park
6th Annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony held in the DCU Club at Polar Park


“Massachusetts is an ideal ecosystem for manufacturing. Our world class universities, highly skilled workforce, availability of venture capital, and strong government support all come together to create a pro-business atmosphere that fosters a system that encourages manufacturing. And our state is home to world-class makers of everything from machinery to biopharmaceuticals to jet engines.”

The event was the state’s 6th Annual Manufacturing Award Ceremony hosted by the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus.  In past years the yearly event has been held at the State House in Boston.  Last year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the event was ‘Reimagined’ and was held via a webinar.  Sponsored by MassMEP and MassTech Collaborative, this year’s ceremony was held in the DCU Club at Polar Park.  In all, 71 companies were recognized for truly “making it” in Massachusetts.

Lt. Gov addresses the audience
Lt. Gov addresses the audience

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Michael Kennealy, and Mr. John Killam, President and CEO of MassMEP offered remarks at the ceremony.  In addition, House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen E. Spilka addressed the audience via pre-recorded video.  

After the successful event State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin) stated, “Manufacturing output here is at its highest level in history and accounts for about 11 percent of the state’s economy. It is the sixth largest employment sector here and $26 billion in manufactured goods are exported from the Commonwealth each year.  We celebrated some truly great companies who make our economy roar and contribute to those statistics. We offer heartfelt congratulations to all the outstanding Manufacturers who were honored for excellence.”

Formed in August 2014, the Manufacturing Caucus includes more than 60 legislators from around the Commonwealth. Lawmakers focus on training for manufacturing employees; encouraging innovation by helping start-ups access resources; and expanding apprenticeship opportunities in key manufacturing sectors.

For more about AirLoc visit their webpage -> https://www.airloc.com/us/home.html

 

FHS girls cross country and girls soccer posts wins, boys soccer records a tie on Thursday

Via @HockomockSports  we share the results of the FHS fall sports action on Thursday, Sep 30, 2021  

Boys Soccer = Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – Final 
– Franklin and Milford traded first half goals and the match finished level with each team taking home a point. The hosts struck first to take the lead when Jack Moran scored off of an assist from Rex Cinelli in the 14th minute. But just five minutes later, Bill Silva knotted the score on a pass from Avi Serri.

Girls Soccer = Franklin, 4 @ Milford, 0 – Final 
– Anya Zub had a hat trick to lead the Panthers to the road win and keep them within two points of first place in the division. With three goals on Thursday, Zub hit double digits (12) for the season. Kelly O’Connor added the fourth for Franklin. Stella Regan, Bridget Leo, Reilly Lorenzo, and Tori Carmignani all had assists for the visitors. Kailany Ferreira had a big game for the Hawks, making 18 saves to keep the hosts in the game. Brooke Ferreira, Serena Borges, and Aislinn Bennett also played well for Milford, whose head coach Lou Colabello said he was proud of how his team competed despite not getting the result.

Boys Cross-Country = Taunton, 24 @ Franklin, 32 – Final

Girls Cross-Country = Taunton, 40 @ Franklin, 21 – Final


For other results around the Hockomock League
https://hockomocksports.com/thursdays-schedule-scoreboard-09-30-21/


FHS girls cross country and girls soccer posts wins, boys soccer records a tie on Thursday
FHS girls cross country and girls soccer posts wins, boys soccer records a tie on Thursday

Recap: School Committee meeting hears of graffiti incident, DLI updates, ESSER III grant draft plans, and approves facial covering policy

Quick recap:
  • Graffiti incident at FHS discussed, Superintendent Ahern updated on Principal Hanna's response and work still underway
  • School topics (Davis Thayer, budget, etc.) scheduled for Town Council meeting Oct 6
  • New communications person, Lily Rivera introduced
  • Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) provided updates on their work supporting teachers and learning technology
  • The draft plan was previewed for use of the ESSER III (Federal funding) to be made available
  • MASC delegate approved, review of MASC resolutions conducted, vote on them scheduled for next meeting. Odd situation may occur, if Denise Spencer doesn't get re-elected Nov 2, with the MASC conference scheduled for Nov 3, the conference would not have a Franklin representative
  • Facial covering policy approved, this wont be the last update, more are likely as the pandemic continues
  • Minutes from Sep 14 split from Consent agenda and approved; the remaining items of the Consent agenda also approved; both votes via roll call

-------------

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting live in the Council Chambers.

 

The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom0928

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23schcom0928&src=typeahead_click


School Committee agenda:

https://www.franklinps.net/district/meeting-packets/files/agenda-9-28-21 


School Committee packet folder (all the doc for the meeting)

https://www.franklinps.net/district/school-committee/pages/september-282021-school-committee-meeting-packet 

 

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album https://photos.app.goo.gl/K2gPhcDTS3vYmPbG7


----------------

Citizens Comments
  • I stepped up to share about the Franklin Area Nonprofit Network (FANN) in an effort to reach out to the PCC organizations. The FANN vision "Franklin will be a community where nonprofit organizations work together for the greater good of its residents. " #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on disappointing curriculum night experience was paperwork instead of info sharing and teacher info sharing #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on when will get out of this? #schcom0928
FHS Student updates
  • Superintendent introduces the new FHS representatives. MacKenzie Atwood a senior (returning this year) production of Mama Mia Nov 12-13; speaks to the recent act of hateful graffiti found on a back door of the school #schcom0928 she can't feel safe in the halls.
  • "While we have made progress ... but more needs to be done, it has been met with more hatred" #schcom0928
  • Shaw Downing with an update on PSAT's, needing proctors to conduct the testing. Back to school night Thursday, Home coming Oct 7, register before req'd #schcom0928
Superintendent's report
  • Superintendent's report - key follow up to Kenzie's info; Principal Hanna sent note to FHS community today (copy to share later) #schcom0928, it was not a FPS student but they were found. "It puts a voice to the hurt" thank you for sharing and having the courage to do so
  • Principal Hanna reaching to the appropriate clubs to respond to the FHS community. Half day on Friday, PDD for staff. #schcom0928 Supt report link to be posted Weds (while be shared after it is available)
  • Supt Ahern and Business Admin Goodman to participate in the Town Council meeting next week to talk school topics among budget. School transport and buses an issue, late buses not available now. hence club and activities potentially hindered. #schcom0928
  • curriculum night was a question to be in person or remote, hoped in person would be better; COVID protocols needed to be followed, to address # of folks in a room, shorter duration and smaller groups #schcom0928 middle/FHS coming later
  • materials prepared for consistency in delivery, further opportunities? yes, all year long - teachers are responsive to requests; conferences coming in Nov #schcom0928
  • "this highlights how important our diversity, equity and inclusion work is" different experience for a SchCom member at the curriculum night, it was informally organized and allowed for moving around. #schcom0928
Guests/Presentations
Discussion/Action Items
  • Franklin TV Board Appointment - I recommend the appointment of Rose Turco to the Franklin TV Board of Directors. - motion seconded, passes via roll call 7-0 #schcom0928
  • MASC Delegate - I recommend the Committee appoint Denise Spencer to serve as the Committee's delegate to the annual MASC Annual Meeting of Delegates as discussed.  motion seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928 (risk of delegate due to conf and election timing)
  • ** Policy - Waiving 1st reading - I recommend waiving the First Reading of Policy EBCFA Face Coverings as discussed. motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • ** D. Policy Adoption - I recommend adopting policy EBCFA - Face Coverings as discussed  #schcom0928 - minor changes, and inclusion of non-compliance section - motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call - (community) input included in the policy;
  • policy discussion on masks not over yet, DESE guidance still incomplete and lacking; we can be stronger than DESE but not more lenient, hard to plan for policy changes in these circumstances #schcom0928
  • MASC resolution discussion tonight, vote comes later: doc with resolution can be found -> https://www.franklinps.net/sites/g/files/vyhlif4431/f/uploads/resolutions21.pdf  #schcom0928
Discussion Only Items
  • next up - ESSER III funding plan -> https://www.franklinps.net/sites/g/files/vyhlif4431/f/uploads/esser_iii_funding_proposal.pdf  #schcom0928
  • beginning slide 4, an accounting of the COVID funding received thus far #schcom0928 page 7 gets into the ESSER III funding to be spread over next couple of years; putting plan together in consideration of other funding sources
  • page 10 highlighted items are an area of funding possible via ESSER funds; some although ranked high don't really qualify for this funding; #schcom0928 Air conditioning is a project beyond the scope of this funding
  • page 11 also has two highlights for areas of possible funding #schcom0928 page 15 has the five priority areas broken out by the stakeholder groups - Page 17 has the start of the proposed ESSER funding requests
  • page 18 closes out the proposal with two more line items - "Our Challenge - Develop a plan between FY 22 and FY 24 to sustain investments that are needed in the long-term"  #schcom0928
  • The survey can also be used as input for other needs discussions. #schcom0928 a job description would come to committee for review before posting once needed
  • next up - back to school status update -> doc located here https://franklinps.net/sites/g/files/vyhlif4431/f/uploads/back_to_school_status_update_september_24_2021.pdf #schcom0928 gradually approx. 80% across Franklin, how to determine which of these are FPS vs. elsewhere
  • data collection currently focused on FHS, currently 75% with more clarification on the numbers being worked. Middle school problematic as not all of them are currently eligible; close contacts will get complicated as this goes forward without masks (i.e 3' to 6') #schcom0928
  • test and stay up and running - no testing without consent, forms on website, top of page easy to find #schcom0928 MCAS scores coming out this week, more full evaluation forthcoming once received and understood. Math a standout area of concern
  • what happens if we don't get to 80%, then the whole school stays masked until such time. #schcom0928 to check on testing form if submitted, contact the school nurse; out of school exposure does not qualify for test/stay
Information matters
  • Info matters - budget handout prepared by budget subcommittee; booth at Harvest Festival (Zone 5 - Rockland Trust parking lot, near Emmons St) #schcom0928
  • Policy next meeting, Oct 6; 6 to 7:30 PM likely in training room; next meeting Oct 21 
  • Joint PCC did meet yesterday; no field trips for fall, maybe for spring; equitable funding and resources desired. Substance taskforce, looking for SAFE hosting #schcom0928
  • SWAC first meeting next week; ad-hoc committee to schedule meeting; Hock Y still serving free food, daycare available; other support groups for specific illnesses; #schco0928
  • moving to consent agenda - separate the minutes for Sep 14, motion to approve, second, passes via roll call 6-0-1 (1 abstain -Judy)
  • motion to accept consent agenda, second, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • motion to adjourn, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call, that's all for tonight  #schcom0928


Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

 

Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team
Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team