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  • Spending per pupil is 23% less than the state averageNet school spending is rapidly approaching the state minimumBased on the downward trend, our current status compared to our peers and the state average will deteriorateThree years ago, when speaking about the budget, we noted that Franklin was below the state average in 9 of 11 categories of education spending. The only areas where we outspent other Massachusetts communities were in classroom teachers and instructional materials. Two years ago, Franklin slipped further. With the continued education cuts, Franklin fell below the state average in 10 of 11 categories. Last year, we predicted that with the loss of more teachers, Franklin was sure to dip below on all 11 categories next year. As you can see from the latest data, it has happened.
  • Analysis which borrows from long range financial planning report.Recent study demonstrates that top quartile teachers will increase the performance of their classroom students by 10 percentage points.Just as the human capital of our citizens will determine the strength of our nation, the human capital of our teachers will determine the quality of our schools. The first step toward improving teacher quality is to attract more talented teachers. The second step is to improve teacher selection on the job, promoting the best and encouraging the worst to help society in some other way. http://finance1.doe.mass.edu/schfin/statistics/function09_sum.aspx?ID=101
  • In past 10 years, enrollment has increased by over 1,000 students
  • Number of teachers has gone from high of 517 in FY06 to low of 399 in FY09. Stimulus and grants allowed us to retain some positions last year.
  • From 1999 – 2003 growth rates for teachers and students were similar. From 2003 to 2006, the schools added more teachers (many funded by grants) in response to special education mandates and a shift in enrollment per grade level. Budget constraints, however, led to sharp reductions in the number of teachers in 2007 and 2008, resulting in increases in class size district wide.For the past two budget cycles, the School Committee has had to make reductions in teaching staff in order to meet costs not funded with budget appropriations from the town. Prior to that, the School Committee steadily reduced spending on other services and imposed and increased fees for busing, athletics, and student activities, to name a few. The savings generated from these decisions have been poured directly into the classroom, to recruit and retain top quality teachers, support a strong curriculum and to maintain appropriate class sizes. The result has been stellar academic performance, to the point where our students have gained acceptances at the top universities and colleges in the nation. Compared to dozens and dozens of other districts, Franklin academically outperforms those who spend much more per pupil. We have cut around the edges to protect our core.This year, however, there are no edges left. Without substantial additional revenue, we must and we will make budget reductions mostly in personnel, because we have exhausted all other areas for significant cuts.
  • Club and activity fees at middle and high school will double to $50. Athletic fees will increase and move to a tiered system, resulting in fees ranging from $175 to $450 (up from current $125 fee)Increases in class sizes in grades K-8, up to 30 students in a classroom, and a shortened school day at elementary schools Also will eliminate 3 buses.
  • We are not alone:Local officials and citizens in North Reading have made a massive effort over the last few years to rein in spending and to push for more local aid. Where has that left us — still 13th or 14th from the bottom in per pupil spending in the state. We have gone for an override two straight years and have lost. We have elementary school libraries and computer labs that are closed two or three days per week. Also this year, we close our elementary and middle schools two hours early each Wednesday in order to give our teachers the required prep time that they lost when we eliminated or cut music, art, physical education and other courses. In addition, we had to cut the physical education class option for high school juniors and seniors and we have numerous classes with more than 30 students.Thanks to great cooperation this year between various town boards, we will be able to restore a full school week, every week, at our elementary and middle schools, as well as some of the courses that were cut this year.  However, we still will have no physical education for juniors and seniors, still only have ONE certified librarian in our entire school system, and still not be able to open our computer labs.Last week in North Reading we had the misfortune of approving a $100 increase in athletic fees. Now, a student will pay $400 for the first sport and $100 each for the second and third. The family max is now $1,100. Thankfully, we could keep our busing fee at the bargain rate of $250 per student and our even bigger bargain student extracurricular fee at only $125. And, the big bonus with the extracurricular fee is that the $125 covers as many activities in which the student wishes to participate.There has been much discussion of late as to the cause of our financial challenges. Is the crux of the problem due to mismangement of funds, inefficient use of revenue, i.e. new fire station, senior center, not being able to live within our budget, etc.? Could we continue to work hard and make sure we are spending every dollar in the most efficient way? Absolutely, but every organization aspires to the same goal. The point of my sharing this email with you is to say that we are not alone. There are many cities and towns facing similar problems to our own, if not worse. My question is, if we are all facing the same problem…..are we all not being financially responsible?
  • We knew that FY10 was going to be a very difficult budget season. We noted that as a community we would all have to dig deeply to come up with a solution to keep the system intact. Last year, the employees in the district accepted wage freezes and deferrals, forego any increases for FY10, that cost them thousands of dollars. This year we ask the community to make a sacrifice that will cost on average $254 per household, about 70 cents per day, based on the average assessment of $368,000 in Franklin. Passage of the ballot question would add 69 cents to the tax rate, or $.69 per $1,000 of the assessed value of your home.Some have asked why we don’t just freeze teacher salaries in light of these difficult economic times? While it may seem easy to “freeze” salaries, there are many reasons why that is not a good idea and would adversely affect the school system. To begin, it is our goal to attract and retain high-quality teachers in our system.  Salary freezes would run counter to our goals.Part of attracting and retaining quality staff is the pay scale.  Indeed, there are many communities throughout Massachusetts that offer more attractive salaries and benefits than Franklin.  We are in competition with these other communities.  In the past few years, we lost some high-quality teachers because of budget issues and the prospect of layoffs.  Many current teachers have applied for jobs outside of Franklin because they perceive a lack of community support.  There are many communities out there that will take our talent in a heartbeat. That will continue to occur if we are unable to meet the budgetary needs.
  • Having strong and vital schools is important for every community. Because we appreciate that fact, we are constantly urging the community to support public education and keep us on the path of moving from good to great. It is in this spirit that we introduce you to the Common Good Forecaster, a joint product of United Way and the American Human Development Project. They have developed a tool to forecast how things might change in our community if educational outcomes were better. As they note in the introduction:Those who advocate for greater investment in education often make the economic argument: more education leads to higher wages and is critical for financial stability and independence. They’re right. Robust evidence supports the view that higher levels of educational attainment are linked to higher incomes, less unemployment, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance.But education is about more than just better jobs and bigger paychecks, important though they are in making families and individuals more financially stable.
  • A great education is the most important gift that we can give to our children. That’s why we have a constitutional and moral obligation to educate kids.Franklin is the birthplace of Horace Mann, the father of public education.High expectations for responsibility, achievement and personal growth
  • When the decision-makers at QinetiQ North America were trying to determine where to locate their business, they picked Franklin because of the public education system. QinetiQ North America is a local maker of soldier protection gear which moved to Franklin two years ago.The Milford Daily News did a story on QinetiQ North America and the visit to the company by Congressman Jim McGovern. “When we were trying to open a factory up, we had the choice of moving to Charleston, S.C., or here,” McCormack said. “We picked (Franklin) because of the public education system.”Of course, we are delighted to read news like this because it speaks so highly about the quality of our education system here. Moreover, it speaks to how our system contributes beyond the walls of our schools. In the case of QinetiQ North America, by attracting them to Franklin, a number of jobs were added, which is a boost to our local economy. We talk often how the school system drives up property values and enhances the community, but this story provides empirical data to support those assertions.This timely mention of the Franklin public schools is also further evidence of how we need to continue to support the school system financially through the override on June 8. Our community rightfully has high expectations for performance in our schools. And we are committed to meeting these expectations, and for that reason are supporting the override efforts.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Override Presentation
    • 2. DESE spending categories
    • 3. FY09 Town of Franklin State Average Excess (Deficit) Percentage Administration 200 439 (239) -54% Instructional Leadership 489 823 (334) -41% Classroom and Specialist Teachers 4,512 4,929 (417) -1% Other Teaching Services 584 948 (364) -38% Professional Development 102 224 (122) -54% Instructional Materials, Equipment and Technology 290 356 (66) -19% Guidance, Counseling and Testing 241 353 (112) -32% Pupil Services 890 1,185 (295) -25% Operations and Maintenance 891 1,099 (208) -19% Insurance, Retirement Programs and Other 1,155 2,217 (1,062) -48% Total Expenditures per Pupil * 10,010 13,055 (3,045) -23% *Columns do not sum to the total due to spending categories not reported by DOE (approx. 5% of total) Source: Massachusetts Department of Education
    • 4. FY03 Keller Sullivan opens FY05 Horace Mann opens
    • 5. FY03 Keller Sullivan opens FY05 Horace Mann opens
    • 6. Student and Teacher Populations Together 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 FY97 FY98 FY99 FY00 FY01 FY02 FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09 StudentEnrollment 300 350 400 450 500 NumberofTeachers FY03 Keller Sullivan opens FY05 Horace Mann opens
    • 7. Historical Budget Data 0 10,000,000 20,000,000 30,000,000 40,000,000 50,000,000 60,000,000 19941995199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010 * * Successful Override and Facilities function switched to Town
    • 8. CHAPTER 70 FUNDING $0 $5 $10 $15 $20 $25 $30 Millions19941995199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010 56% of total FY10 budget
    • 9. Special Education Costs as a percentage of the total budget 15% 16% 17% 18% 19% 20% 21% 22% 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
    • 10. Personnel Reductions • 4 FTE• 1 FTE • 3 FTE• 110 FTE since FY06 Professional Teaching Positions Assistant Principals Central Office Administrators Technology and Facilities Administrators
    • 11. Curriculum and Instruction Eliminated 2 MS Science Specialists Eliminated 3 K-5 Technology Integration Specialists K-8 NEASC accreditation Textbook line item eliminated Curriculum Teams eliminated
    • 12. • K-5 Spanish reduced to 1x per week • Elimination of French at the Middle School Foreign Language • K-5 Health eliminated • K-5 PE reduced to 1x per week • Schedule changes reduce PE/Health grades 6-12 Health/PE
    • 13. Music Grade 4 and 5 instrumental music eliminated Schedule change in MS reduces time allotted for General Music grades 6-8 HS schedule change reduces availability of music electives
    • 14. Fee Increases •$25•Implemented FY03 •Increased FY09 •$125•$325 Pay to Ride FY03 Athletics FY03, FY04 Extracurricular Activity Fees MS/HS FY08 Building Use Fees
    • 15. Facilities Eliminated 10 custodial positions Eliminated weekend security Eliminated summer job program
    • 16. FY11 budget
    • 17. Budget allocation
    • 18. Gap of $1,800,000
    • 19. What’s in and out in FY11 Teachers • 7 in K-5 • 8 in 6-8 Fees • Tiered • $175 to $450 Class sizes • Up to 30 • Shorter school day Buses • 3 less • Limited flexibility • Longer routes
    • 20. We are not alone Mendon- Upton Holliston BellinghamMansfield Norfolk
    • 21. Wage freeze for employees Increase in property taxes Shared sacrifices
    • 22. Community benefits from education Critical for financial stability and independence More education leads to Higher wages Less unemployment Less poverty Less reliance on public assistance Common Good Forecaster
    • 23. Why should people care about school budget? Constitutional and moral obligation to educate children Schools enhance local property values Birthplace of Horace Mann High expectations
    • 24. Moved here for school system “When we were trying to open a factory up, we had the choice of moving to Charleston, S.C., or here, we picked (Franklin) because of the public education system.”

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