Monday, May 17, 2010

FM #68 - Week Ending 5/16/10

Let's take about ten minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends May 16, 2010.

Time: 9 minutes, 22 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast
Number 68 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about 10 minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as this week comes to a close on Sunday May 16th.

In this session I'll cover last of the budget hearings by the Finance Committee on Monday, the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Downtown Revitalization Project on Wednesday, the open house at the DPW and the opening of the Historical Museum. To close, I'll do a brief outlook at the week ahead.

Beginning with the Finance Committee. They completed their set of budget hearings for fiscal year 2011. The hearings provided a detailed discussion with each department head on their budget needs. One significant outcome from the meeting was an endorsement by the FINCOM of the upcoming override. The committee voted 8-0 to recommend the override. These folks, volunteers as are other Town boards, are closest to the budget and inner workings of the Town.

The details are available
May 4th
May 6th
May 10th

From the school committee meeting, the update on the dept of elementary and secondary education (DESE) visit that occurred in Dec 2009 was the most noteworthy. This visit effectively reviewed the civil rights, English language learners, and special education programs of the district. On a four point scale: commendable, implemented, partially implemented or not implemented; Franklin had 9 items in the partially implemented category and that was the focal point of the presentation. Many of these items had been discussed previously as a result of the research into the district scores from MCAS exams. Now as a result of DESE visit, there is a formal action plan being put together to address the findings. One visible effect that you can see is the new capability to translate a page on the Schools website to another language.

With so much happening last week, I realized I did not get a copy of the presentation document itself to post and that should be available shortly. Updated: it can be found here

The other note worthy item from the meeting was the decision not to enable School choice for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. This keeps the 39 students we currently service in the district in place but does not expand to any others due to the possible class size increases if the override fails to pass. The real negative for this decision is the revenue lost from school choice. The revenue from school choice is a real plus to the district to fill in otherwise under utilized capacity within the class rooms in the district. In days where revenue is looked for, this would really be nice to have. At one point, the district received revenue from 70 students in the school choice program, that has declined to the current total of 39

The full set of notes from the meeting can be found here

The Downtown Improvement or Revitalization Project was reviewed by Bryan Taberner and the architects in a good working session on Wednesday. The meeting was broadcast and available for viewing here

The DPW held their annual open house on Saturday. At the same time, the Library held it's annual book sale, Good crowds took advantage of the great weather to explore the trucks and equipment in the DPW yard as well as peruse the books for sale.

A write up on the event including pictures is available here

The Historical Museum opened this weekend. A long time in planning and lots of sweat finally came to fruition. Having personally volunteered to move items from the old Washington St location to the former Town Hall downtown, it was really nice to see the finished work.

This is a great example of the low cost approach that Franklin has taken to produce a high quality product. Donations of material (TJ Maxx – display cases), school projects (Tri-County – library shelving and display cases), volunteer help (for the move, cataloging and on-going operational support), helped to make the money the Town spent much more effective.

Additional information and pictures of the new museum can be found here:

Other items of note:

Ed Cafasso published another in his series of informational newsletters

The EPA held a public informational meeting on the proposed storm water regulations on Wednesday. It was broadcast by the Franklin Cable group but has not yet been posted for review via the on-demand video. I do have the handout from the meeting to share at this time.

I recommend that you take advantage of the discussion opportunities as we approach the special election on June 8th. Members of the Town Council, School and Finance Committees will be available to answer questions about the budget for fiscal year 2011 and the proposal to raise an additional $3 million dollars to maintain our current services.

If you would like to discuss the budget details with me, please feel free to reach out and ask. I will make time to meet with you.

As we take a look ahead on this week's schedule.

Monday, the Planning Board opens a hearing on the new market proposal for 485 East Central St. What has commonly been seen as the rock pile.

Wednesday, the Town Council meets – agenda available

Franklin Town Budget Informational Forum sponsored by Sullivan, Keller & Davis Thayer PCC at Keller/Sullivan Middle School 7:00 PM

Franklin Town Budget Informational Forum sponsored by HMMS, Oak, ECDC, FHS PCC at Horace Mann/Thomas Mercer Auditorium 7:00 PM

What will you do this week?

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!

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

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 & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to listen to the audio recording