Monday, December 13, 2021

"School funding is both enormously important and extremely complicated"

It is timely that the Franklin School Committee has a workshop scheduled to help the new members understand the Franklin school budget. While much has been written around the impact of the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) and how it will help MA better fund schools, this Shanker Report looks at state to state funding comparisons and finds MA lacking.

This helps position the Franklin budget in the overall bigger picture of school funding across the nation. 

"This year's Shanker Institute report on the adequacy and fairness of school funding, which uses 2019 data, gives a stark picture of where we have been in Massachusetts. 

2019, of course, is when, in November, we FINALLY got a revision to the state formula, one-sixth (mostly) of which was FINALLY implemented this current fiscal year.

The work of Bruce D. Baker of Rutgers University), Matthew Di Carlo and Kayla Reist of the Shanker Institute, and Mark Weber, also at Rutgers University, the report looks at effort, progressivity, and adequacy; that is: how much are states actually trying in using the fiscal resources they have for schools, and do they make sure poor kids are getting more resources, and are districts getting enough money to get to outcomes needed.

And we don't look so hot, Massachusetts. "
Continue reading the article online

You can go directly to the Shanker Report ->

The MA profile can be found here ->

our effort level ranks #43 in the nation (out of 49)
our effort level ranks #43 in the nation (out of 49)

Good Deeds: Christmas Movie Trivia


By William P. O'Donnell, Norfolk County Register of Deeds

The Holidays are upon us and it is time for an article from the Registry of Deeds that builds upon the joys of our holiday season.  It is about time a writing that is light and not so serious is written in these "Good Deeds" articles.  There can always be more of that in our day to day lives.

One go to article theme readers of "Good Deeds" may have noticed over the years has been trivia.  There have been trivia questions about historical figures of Norfolk County such as the four Presidents of the United States born here in Norfolk County.  There have been trivia challenges involving naming one of the 28 communities making up Norfolk County as the answer to some notable person who hailed from that community.  

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has seen its share of Hollywood filming which has taken place in and around the beautiful Registry of Deeds Building.  There was an old television show "The Practice" starring actors Dylan McDermott and Michael Spada.  Four episodes of this show were filmed in and around Dedham.  "Ironman" Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall made use of the Norfolk Superior Court and the Registry of Deeds Building front pillars and steps in the film "The Judge".  Recently Rosamund Pike and Eiza Gonzalez used the books and beauty of the renovated Registry of Deeds Record Hall to film "I Care A Lot".  Rosamund Pike won a Golden Globe for her performance in this movie which can be seen on Netflix.

So I thought I would combine the Christmas Season, trivia and this link to movies to challenge the reader to some Christmas Movie Trivia.


Trivia Questions (answers located below)

#1 In Home Alone 2, what city does Kevin mistakenly get lost in?


#2 What was the real name of the character Tim Allen plays in The Santa Clause?


#3 Where does the Polar Express take the children?


#4 Finish this iconic line from It's a Wonderful Life: "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his                                   ___."


#5 Buddy the elf sticks to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and ____.


#6 Who was the bad guy Rudolph tried to avoid?


#7 Finish this line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  "It came without packages, boxes or ____"


#8 What did the other reindeer not let Rudolph do because of his shiny red nose?


#9 In the story of a Christmas Carol, what is Scrooge's first name?


#10 What Christmas carol does the Peanuts gang sing at the end of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?


#11 "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is ____."-Elf


May all the songs and spirit of the Christmas Season bring you happiness and health.  There is no great prize being given out if you did well answering these trivia questions.  However, I certainly hope Santa Claus is good to you.  To everyone a joyful and happy holiday season.



Good News: Christmas Movie Trivia
Good News: Christmas Movie Trivia

#1 New York City
#2 Scott Calvin (SC)
#3 North Pole
#4 Wings
#5 Syrup
#6 The Abominable Snowman
#7 Bags
#8 Join in any reindeer games
#9 Ebenezer
#10 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
#11 Sing loud for all to hear


#ThinkFranklinFirst: VFJ Renovations is now taking orders for planters, raised garden beds

"Give the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season!

VFJ Renovations is now taking orders for planters, raised garden beds, and Empower with Gardening signs! Read all about what we do and why we do it at A limited quantity of signs are available now, and all planters and garden beds will be built in the spring.

As in the past, all profits will be donated to a non-profit organization."

Listen to the audio recording from Apr 2021 as they prepared for the seasonal build

my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020
my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020

FHS Girls Basketball Preview via HockomockSports for 2021-2022 Season has published their preview of the Girls Basketball teams for the Hockomock League. The Franklin portion of the article is shared here along with the link to read the full article covering the remainder of the league. 

2020-2021 Record: 10-0
Coach: John Leighton

"Franklin returns eight players, including six seniors, from last year’s team, which extended the Panthers’ win streak to 35 games and clinched a third straight Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers will be leaning on that experience as they seek to continue their reign at the top of the league and defend the Div. 1 state title that they won in 2019-20. 
Senior forward Olivia Quinn will be the focal point of the Franklin offense this year after leading the team in scoring last winter and emerging as one of the top players in the Hock over the past two years. The reigning Kelley-Rex MVP will have plenty of help, particularly in the paint. While Franklin doesn’t have someone with Ali Brigham’s size, the Panthers have seven players on their roster that are listed at 5-foot-9 or taller. Senior Brigid Earley was the team’s leading rebounder last year and junior Katie Peterson is an athletic forward with a versatile game. Senior Emma Sousa is another experienced forward that gives depth in the post. 
On the perimeter, Franklin has graduated a lot of its ball-handlers and shooters but senior Stefany Padula, a Springfield College-commit, is back and will help stretch the floor. Junior Bridget Leo is coming off a strong soccer season and could step in at point guard along with seniors Julia White and Jessica Pingeton, who saw some time last year. Sophomore guard Sasha Tracey is the lone underclassman on the roster this season. 
“I am very excited to get back on the court with this team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “There is a lot of work ahead of us but there has also been many glimpses of what we could develop into. We have a very strong senior class who has set the bar high for the team. We hope to develop into a close-knit, supportive team that can win in different ways and also play defense that will limit our opponents’ options.”
FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

FHS' Marchand - one of the Hockomock League boys hockey "Players to Watch" has published the "Players to Watch" for the Hockomock League boys hockey teams. The Franklin High School representative is shared here. Follow the link below to find out about the other players to watch around the Hockomock League. 

"A dynamic forward, Marchand is one of the fastest skaters in the league and one of those rare players that seems to be going just as fast with the puck as he is without it. Franklin’s leading scorer from a year ago, he finished with eight goals and nine assists in 13 games. He has a strong, accurate shot even on the move and is a threat to score from anywhere inside the blue line. Marchand brings a lot of energy to the ice and is always driving towards the goal, putting pressure on the defensemen who are trying to stay in front of him. Never shying away from contact, he also starts the forecheck for Franklin and can provide defense from the front. With a schedule loaded with the top teams in Div. 1, the Panthers will be preparing themselves for a postseason run and Marchand’s scoring could be the key for Franklin extending its season well into March."

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

MetroWest Nonprofit Network: Upcoming Policymaker Roundtable with Congressman Jim McGovern

Join us for MNN's virtual Policymaker Roundtable with Congressman Jim McGovern to discuss ongoing pandemic recovery for nonprofits and key government relief programs.

The event will take place on Tuesday, December 14th. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our Commonwealth, and have a candid conversation about the impacts of these issues on nonprofits and the people they serve.

Please note, this program is free to MNN members and $20 for all non-members. To learn more about MNN membership and its benefits, please visit this page on our website or email

Click the button below to register and learn more.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network | 2 Atlantic Avenue, 1st Floor, Boston, MA 02110

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Santa's Magical Mailbox - highlights the goodness of our Franklin community

"Santa's Magical mailbox 
I would like to give credit where credit is due. Ann Marie Donovan was trying to raise money for the Food pantry asking kids to drop a letter to Santa and a small donation for the food pantry at her personal mailbox last year. I contacted her and asked if she would like to have a mailbox at my light show because I get a decent amount of traffic and figured we could raise more money that way. She thought is was a good idea and so that's how it all began. 
Ann is in charge of writing letters along with some really great elves. Thankfully we also have some generous people donating stamps because less than 20% of the letters we get come with a donation and each letter returned to the kids cost us around $1. We understand that not everyone can afford a donation and all kids will get a return letter no matter what. 
The mailbox is taken in and out every night to keep it in as good shape as possible. It should be out by 5:30 every day. We have received letters from many towns in MA including some that are not very close. The elves are working hard and hopefully the first batch of letters will go out soon. 
I named it Santa's Magical Mailbox because I feel like it was magical how members of the community help donate their time, material and skills to make it come to fruition. Scott Firestine made the mailbox and donated it which was absolutely amazing. After just a day or two the paint got ruined so Power Painting Plus ( Rick and John Power) came and picked up the mailbox, repainted it at no cost, then took it to "Signs by Cam" where they redid all of the lettering, which was also at no cost. 
This mailbox belongs to Franklin. I just store it and try my best to keep it in good shape. I hope to pass it on to someone else in Franklin one day. 
Thank you everyone for your support. We hope its a great year for the Franklin Food Pantry and that your kids enjoy their letters from Santa. "
Laura McCarthy

To send a donation, please find the info on the Facebook post

Santa's Magical Mailbox - highlights the goodness of our Franklin community
Santa's Magical Mailbox - highlights the goodness of our Franklin community

Franklin, MA: Town Council Meeting - Dec 15, 2021 - Agenda

Agenda & Meeting Packet
December 15, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Meeting will be held at the Municipal Building
2nd floor, Council Chambers
355 East Central Street 

a. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by others.
b. Chair to identify members participating remotely.
a. Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to five minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda. The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter.
a. November 10, 2021


a. Franklin Cultural District Committee: Katherine Botelho
b. Franklin Cultural District Committee: Patrick Timmons
c. Community Preservation Committee: Richard (Rick) Power

6. HEARINGS - 7:10pm - None Scheduled

a. 2022 Annual Alcohol License Renewals

a. Human Resources: Karen Bratt, Human Resources Director

a. Capital Budget Subcommittee
b. Budget Subcommittee
c. Economic Development Subcommittee





14. EXECUTIVE SESSION - None Scheduled


The full agenda and released documents can be found in one PDF ->

Karen Bratt, Human Resources Director
Karen Bratt, Human Resources Director, provided an update to the FinCom in October 2021

Franklin, MA: Town Council Rules of Procedure Review Committee Meeting Agenda - Dec 15 - 6 PM

Town Council Rules of Procedure Review Committee 
Meeting Agenda - December 15 
3rd Floor Training Room - 6:00 PM

1. Review Procedures Manual of The Franklin Town Council dated May 9, 2018

Agenda doc -> 

Procedures Manual (to be reviewed)

Town Council Rules of Procedure Review Committee Meeting Agenda - Dec 15 - 6 PM
Town Council Rules of Procedure Review Committee Meeting Agenda - Dec 15 - 6 PM

FHS wrestling team splits 2-2 at Mt Hope Quad meet

Via and Twitter, we share the results of the FHS winter sports action on Saturday. 

Boys Hockey = Franklin, 2 @ Weymouth, 4 – Final

Wrestling = Mt. Hope (R.I.) Quad Meet (Franklin) 

–  Franklin split for the day, picking up a pair of wins in four matches. The Panthers earned wins over Barnstable (39-18) and Pilgrim (46-6) but dropped two tight contests to Hope (39-38) and Lowell (42-38).

Tough loss on our fourth and final match of the day to Lowell, 42-38. Pins by Fracassa, Foley, Parlon and Sheridan. 2-2 on the day at MT Hope. Wrestler of the day was Brock Gabis at heavy weight. #lowlife #maskoff 

39-18 win over Barnstable for the third match of the day. Pins by Leaman, Carlucci, Fracassa, Foley and Hasenfus. 

Tough loss on the second match of the day to Hope, 39-38. Pins by Leaman, Carlucci, Parlon and Gabis. #walkingdead 

46-6 win over Pilgrim to start the season. Pins by Leaman, Carlucci, Winniker, Danial, O’Leary, Fracassa, and Dillion. 

For other results around the Hockomock League 

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Tri-County RVTHS Inducts New National Honor Society Members

Qualified Tri-County Juniors were inducted into the National Honor Society and new officers named

Tri-County held the solemn induction ceremony for the Peter Rickard Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). Forty new members were inducted, thirty-seven juniors and three seniors. To be considered for membership into the NHS students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.85 out of 4.0, voluntarily contribute to their school and/or community, be resourceful and good problem solvers, and uphold a high standard of character including being cooperative, honest, courteous, and reliable.

This year’s junior inductees are: 

Nicholas Aguiar, Quinlan Anderson, Jack Barrett, Zachary Blenkhorn, Faith Boutin, Benjamin Bryson, Abigail Calamar, Ashly Cardona, Sheila Cardona, Ava Cavallaro, Sophie Chrisom, Hannah Clarke, Ava D’Amadio, Emily DeLuca, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Sabra Flanagan, Cory George, Sophia Gill, Isabella Gulley, Andrew Johnson, Aidan Juhl, Jennifer Kalick, Noelle Kennedy, Natalie Kirby, Laci Lawrence, Collin McEvoy, Jenna Moore, Abigail Polvado, William Refearn, Isabella Rivera, Sophia Rodrigues, Kailey Rogers, Glenn Sawyer, Ashley Sullivan, Jacob Sullivan, Hailey Tetreault, and Coleman Walsh. 

The senior inductees included: 

Harrison Anton, Gabriel Corey, and Matthew Gorton.

The Solemn Induction Ceremony was held on Thursday, December 2nd and included the pledge to NHS, the presentation of the pillars, and a guest speaker, Rich Vitali. Mr. Vitali was voted as guest speaker by the current senior NHS members and spoke to the group about leadership, service, and character. “I witness those students who pick up trash left on the ground… the students who encourage their teammates to push themselves… the students who stay after school to set up decorations so their peers get the full experience of walking into a special event. This night is about recognizing the students who bring honor to the Tri-County community.”

Congratulations to the new inductees! We know you will continue to do wonderful things. 

Tri-County RVTHS Inducts New National Honor Society Members
Tri-County RVTHS Inducts New National Honor Society Members

Critical Conversations - Mental Health & Substance Use 11/18/21 (video)

Catching up to sharing the video and presentation document from the Critical Conversations event held on Nov 18, 2021.

The Franklin Public Schools Substance Abuse Task Force teamed up with the SAFE Coalition to host the Critical Conversations Panel. This event was held online and in person at Franklin High School on November 18th, 2021. The panel featured 7 speakers with various perspectives representing education, health care, law enforcement, parent/guardians, and people with lived experience. The conversation focused on identifying and addressing mental health and substance use among families and within our community.”


As with most meetings/events in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the FHS auditorium. 

The Twitter hashtag #CC1118 can be found online The thread begins with 

Photos from the event can be found in one album:  
  • Critical conversations info on speakers, agenda, and remote link info #cc1118
  • The THC available today is FAR more potent than that used in the 90's - like 60 times more potent! #cc1118 this is being used in vap cartridges
  • Dr Bergen introduces the panel for this discussion #cc1118
  • Dan, recovering alcoholic, wanted communication in his earlier days to have helped his turn to substance use as the aid; punishment, and increasing punishments, didn't help #cc1118
  • Jim, parent of a son with trouble, urges other parents to get involved, don't think it will just 'get better' #cc1118 ask for help, you are not alone.
  • Sgt Colecchi provides some staggering stats on current calls for mental health and substance abuse, a good number of them are youth under 18 #cc1118
  • Principal Hanna seeing behavior unlike anything seen during 25+ years teaching in a high school. The combination of the pandemic and substance use are driving the change in behavior #cc1118
  • Per Hanna, they are organizing to respond to this issue. it had not part of their charter. #cc1118
  • SAFE seeing students buying vaps via dealers more so now than before. Increase also seen in parental supply of alcohol and vaps. #cc1118
  • Rep Roy touts mental health legislation that the MA Senate just passed and sent to the House for their review/action. #cc1118
  • Resources from the FPS page for parents -> #cc1118 simply sitting next to your youth rather than facing them to have the conversation is a help #cc1118
  • Do some homework on what the vapes look like, they do come via mail, it can be a quick trip to someone at the car in the driveway to get a supply  #cc1118
  • If near someone overdosing, call 911, do not drive to the hospital. The drugs are so fast acting, you'll be too late. 911 is the best way, paramedics should have narcan handy #cc1118
  • Shifting to the audience Q&A segment of the evening #cc1118
  • Late to this but shifted to the break out portion of the evening; checked out the "hidden in plain sight" display and product table. Fascinating info! #cc1118 that's all for tonight, catch you next time!
The event video is now available via YouTube 


part of the "Hidden in Plain Sight" display
part of the "Hidden in Plain Sight" display

Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13

Reimagine an Inclusive Education
A Community Forum with State Senator Ed Kennedy
Monday, December 13, 7:00 - 8:00 PM 

Please register in advance

More info at ->   and select the "Events" tab

Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13
Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13

"The activity in the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund during COVID was historic"

"THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION on Friday gave lawmakers its most detailed accounting yet of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, and said it is preparing to issue bonds to put the fund on sound financial footing.

“We will have to bond. There is no doubt,” said Rosalin Acosta, the secretary of labor and workforce development, in a presentation to the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee.

Acosta didn’t provide a full accounting of the fund — she promised that by the end of the month — but she did provide more information than she has in months. The Baker administration stopped issuing a monthly report on the unemployment insurance trust fund’s financial status in June and pushed the Legislature to use $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to bolster the fund’s finances.

The Legislature in the spring also gave the governor the authority to issue up to $7 billion in bonds to deal with any shortfall in the fund. At the time, the expectation was that the fund was deep in the red and the assumption was that bond proceeds would make the fund whole while lessening the financial blow on businesses. Instead of having to pay off any fund deficit immediately, the bonds would allow businesses to pay the deficit off over the multi-decade life of the bonds."
Continue reading the article online

“We’re so influenced by what we see”

“We know from other areas of work around public health or the environment that tax incentives have been used to help nudge companies toward doing the right thing when outright bans or punishments through penalties weren’t going to be sufficient to get something done,” Austin said.

Austin said First Amendment rights protect commercial speech, which means lawmakers cannot outright ban digital alterations of advertising images.

“There’s emerging research showing us that when readers see a diversity of body sizes, a diversity of skin shades, diversity of ages, they respond much more positively, and it’s protective for them,” Austin said.

Austin said she thinks it’s the businesses’ responsibility to do right by teenagers.

“Ultimately, it’s companies that are creating the toxic media environment for young people, and it’s companies that are going to have to solve it,” Austin said. “We’re showing them a way that they can do that.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

STRIPED (@HarvardSTRIPED) tweeted on Fri, Dec 10, 2021:
Great piece by @BostonGlobe reporter @_ChikaOkoye on @RepKayKhan & @BeccaRauschMA's innovative, evidence-informed legislation promoting #mentalhealth #bodyimage via realistic advertising images @RECOVERwithMEDA @HarvardChanSPH @EDCoalition @MentalHealth_MA
Link to Boston Globe article ->

The Massachusetts Statehouse. CHIKA OKOYE
The Massachusetts Statehouse. CHIKA OKOYE