Saturday, May 29, 2010

FM #69-A Scott Mason - Part 1 of 2

This is part one of a conversation with Town Council Chair Scott Mason. We sat on the Town Common and talked for 50 minutes covering the whole gamut of issues around the Special Election Override vote scheduled for June 8th.

Time: 28 minutes, 7 seconds

MP3 File

Show Notes and Quotes:

This internet radio show or podcast
Number 69 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This is a special edition and divided in two parts for ease of listening. I sat on the Franklin Town Common to catch up with Town Council Chair Scott Mason. We spent about 50 minutes covering the whole gamut of issues around the special election coming up June 8th

As we did sit out in the open on the Common, there will be some background noise from a passing police car siren and then one of the groundskeepers finishing up some of the mowing getting ready for Memorial Day weekend. I was able to remove most of the mowing noise without hindering the conversation with Scott.

Notes and quotes from the first segment

busy with the informational meetings
what does it mean to services if the override passes or if the override fails
there are some people only peripherally aware of the election
there are some people who no matter what the issue is they don't want to hear about tax increases
there are some people who appreciate the information being provided

Long term planning committee, developed the five year outlook for Franklin
there is an over-reliance on state aid, we are a well run community
need to increase the tax base one way is to increase taxes

Prop 2 ½ specifically gives the voters the choice on the level of services to be provided
An opportunity to invest in Franklin and see the direct benefits from your tax dollars

We have had to be creative with less
I hear “We are poorly managed” and that is far from the truth
we get a lot of bang for the buck here in Franklin
Lost 100 teachers over last five years, yet increased 1,000 students in the same period
if we lost so many, how can there be waste?

We have lost 50 Town employees in the same period

Observation that the schools are quicker now, calling a snow day due to the time it takes to clear the sidewalks and roads, because it takes longer these days

“Rumor dejour” “everybody in DPW got new trucks” it is just not true
The vehicles are well taken care of
the Bucket truck was purchased used and came with a paint job
Instead of $130,000 brand new it was purchased for about $30,000

the police dispatchers, if override doesn't pass, could be an issue
if we get two calls at the same time, or back to back, there could be an extra wait
if that is for a health issue, that could be a real problem with response
Council not happy with creating that situation

Schools 'have too many administrators'
we are below average in all eleven categories for those tracked by the DESE
for the administrators, we are under the state avg by 52%

class sizes will increase to 28 and to 30
the level of interaction with the teachers goes away
the high performing students won't be affected as much but the vulnerable one will see it

“our most vulnerable citizens stand to suffer the most if this override doesn't pass”
As the schools accounted for over half of the overall town budget

80% of the budget is teachers – due to all the other cuts made over the years
class trips cut, books cut, they are provided by PCC or other means but not by the Town

teacher cuts are not the only place the pain will be felt
athletic fees will increase to $175 and be on a tiered scale up to $450 for hockey
activity fees will increase to $50

“Jeff Roy has said we are supposed to be in the business of providing a free education but it is no longer free”

for parents, particularly with kid sin high school, it should be cheaper pay for the override versus the athletic and activity fee increases

eliminate three buses, longer commutes
truncating one day by an hour or so at the elementary schools to save three teachers

“it has been a general philosophy around the world to increase the length of the school days and here we are in Franklin shortening the day”

if the override doesn't pas this year, next year they'll be looking at more teacher layoffs, they'll look at full day kindergarten possibly going to half day, they'll look at athletics again

“I can't imagine a high school sports tradition like Franklin has and having to cut it”

“At the end of the day,the voters are going to decide what type of town they want to live in”

Part 2 of the Scott Mason discussion continues here


Thank you for listening!

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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!

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