The School Committee meeting tonight was not broadcast so it was good to be there.
The Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) presented a check for $20,197.00 to be used for teaching grants awarded. Many of the teachers who received the awards were presented with a certificate and received recognition for this award.
The FEF has raised over $150,000 during its almost ten year life as an organization. The Trivia Bee, a Casino Night and an annual appeal (the 'backpack letter' as it travels home via the school communications) are the major fund raising efforts for this group.
The Horace Mann Auditorium was named in honor of Thomas D. Mercer, Franklin resident, long time volunteer, former school committee member, and in particular, his efforts on the building committee for the Horace Mann project were reported to have rescued it from dire straits and enable it to be opening and functioning today. There were other nominations but the selection process was primarily between Mr Mercer and Dr Bergen, current principal of the middle school. The School Committee acknowledged a tough choice. After several passionate appeals (from students, a teacher, and a parent) and some discussion the vote went 6-1 in favor of Mr Mercer.
Superintendent Wayne Ogden thanked the community for voting to pass the override to provide additional funds to restore the library services and improve the levels of service the schools will be able to provide next year.
Note that this improvement over the levels of service that would have been provided had the override not passed. What was not referenced were the cuts that remain as the complete "level service budget" was not funded.
Superintendent Ogden told the committee that he was not yet prepared to answer their request to restore Spanish to the middle schools or strings to the elementary schools. They are making progress in figuring out how to do that within the budget but still have some items outstanding, some of which were scheduled for discussion during their executive session later Tuesday night.
Superintendent Ogden did propose and the Committee did vote to approve the modest increase in school lunches, the pay-to-ride program, and the high school athletic fees. The committee tabled the discussion on a co-curricular fee. This fee would be for anyone in either middle school or high school participating in a non-athletic activity after school program. The specifics around what programs would be part of this and what would not; service programs would be exempt, for example, caused the item to be tabled for another time.
The school lunch fees would increase to
$2.00 for elementary school
$2.50 for middle school
$2.75 for high school
milk would increase from $.40 to $.50.
The pay-to-ride program would increase from $200 to $225. The usual 3 times family cap would remain.
The high school athletic fees would increase from $100 to $125 per student per sport per season.
The Superintendent also looked for the Committee to approval the new total for the FY08 budget based upon the results of the override. The Committee declined to do so as they know the total but the some of the details still remain to be determined. This is related to the executive session mentioned earlier.