Franklin School Committee News

Edited by Denise Schultz, Vice-Chair

Message from the Chair - Dr. Anne Bergen

As you know our wonderful, thriving community is facing a fiscal challenge. The Town Council, Finance Committee and School Committee have been educating the public about the financial needs our community is currently facing and will be facing in the coming years.

Based on tax reform implemented nearly 30 years ago (Proposition 2.5), we have not been able to keep up with the increasing costs of ALL services – police, fire, DPW and schools.

The beauty of public schools is that we educate ALL children with passion and care. From the most intellectually gifted to those who present emotional, behavioral and physical challenges. Unfortunately the costs of the tuitions we pay for those students whose needs cannot be met in our schools are soaring, far beyond the budgetary limits that have been placed on us. In addition, the costs of transportation, technology, health insurance and all of the new curriculum initiatives imposed by the state (which are not funded) are breaking the bank!!

Public schools are the foundation of democracy, where children from all walks of life come together to work, play and learn from each other. They learn to see the world through others’ eyes and grow in wisdom and compassion. Community support for our public schools is critical….

Please work with all of us to keep Franklin a safe, vibrant community, a magnet for families across the state. In conjunction with the Town Council and Finance Committee, we will be hosting more public forums and getting out information relative to how we can come together to solve our fiscal issues!


As parents and educators there are some things over which we have control. We can adjust homework demands; we can set limits on technology use, but we can’t control the natural biological rhythms of the adolescent. Fifty years ago when the current start times were put in place, little was known about the effects of sleep hormones on the adolescent. The sleep hormone, melatonin is produced TWO HOURS later than when they were younger beginning at the age of 12 or 13, then reverts in adulthood.

That is why every major medical and psychological association in America has recommended a change to later start times for adolescents. That is why 77% of school committees of the top high schools in Massachusetts (as ranked by US News and World Report) have already adjusted start times or are actively exploring a start time change. That is why high school sports leagues are aligning their game and practice schedules. The data gathered over the last twenty-five years from districts across the country that have adjusted start times provides solid evidence regarding improvements in overall emotional health and well-being. Tardiness and absenteeism numbers plummet and more kids have time to eat breakfast!

There are many factors to consider, which is why we have sought community input and are being deliberative regarding any possible changes. We have greatly appreciated the thoughtful feedback and will continue to work through obstacles and challenges, arriving at a decision that is in the best interest of our students and their families.

For more information, please visit our "start times" section of our website.

FY20 Budget Adoption

Due to the fiscal challenges discussed above, the budget subcommittee had to present a list of reductions to the full School Committee budget in order to stay in line with current forecasting of state and municipal dollars for FY20. Full details of these documents are found here.

The final Franklin Public Schools FY20 District Budget was adopted by the Town Council on May 23, 2019.

Public Schools Advocacy - Denise Schultz

Since our last newsletter, the Public Schools Advocacy subcommittee hosted the 2nd annual Legislative Forum (available for viewing here.) and has met several times. As the MASC Liaison for the Franklin School Committee, I attended the "Day on the Hill" on May 1, and heard from elected officials at the State House who are working on education funding issues. I took time to meet with our state rep as well. In addition, Dr. Bergen and I attended the "Fund Our Future" rally in Boston on May 16, along with 25+ educators from Franklin to rally for fully funding public education in the Commonwealth.
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Policy Update - Mary Jane Scofield

The Policy Subcommittee continues to meet regularly. The Homework Policy was adopted by the School Committee on 7/18/2017. Since that time a team of educators has held several meetings to develop the document "Homework Guidelines" that was reviewed for the final time by the Policy Subcommittee on 6/4/2019. The document defines homework, as well as the expectations of students, teachers, families, and administrators. It also explains the purpose of homework, and provides average times that students at different levels should be spending on their assignments. The document covers all grades, as well as AP courses. The Homework Policy and the "Homework Guidelines" will be included in all Handbooks for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents are encouraged to review both documents, and in the usual manner bring any issues to the attention of their child's teacher, principal, and then the Superintendent. Feel free to contact a member of the Policy Subcommittee with any questions or concerns as well. If we don't know about an issue we can't do anything about it. All are reminded that Policies are guidelines, and not set in stone.

Community Relations - Gigi Zub

How to engage with the school committee over the summer? The first opportunity is at the Strawberry Stroll on June 14th. The stroll starts at 4 pm. Come visit our table on Main Street by Acapulcos restaurant!

We will also be at the Farmers Market from 12 to 3pm on July 26th and from 3 to 6 pm on August 23rd.

Also, be on the look out for some virtual ways to engage with us.

Thank you to the community relations sub-committee members Dr. Anne Bergen and Denise Schultz as we continue to look for ways to engage our Franklin community!!

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Monthly Business Meeting Dates - 7 pm, Franklin Town Hall (click title for link)

  • June 11, 2019
  • June 25, 2019
  • July 23, 2019
  • August 13, 2019
  • August 27, 2019
  • September 10, 2019
  • September 24, 2019

Input welcome! To contact us...

Any suggestions or requests for future newsletters please direct to:

Denise Schultz:

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