July 1st, 2020
I hope this update finds each of you well and deep into a relaxing summer vibe. I have been getting back into a workout routine by running the mean streets of Franklin and I have to say that pavement is not as forgiving as the treadmills at the Y. Below, you will find a quick survey about Wednesday meetings, info about plans for the reopening of school, a budget update, a facilities update, and a summer book recommendation.
We need your prompt response to this one question survey about Wednesday meetings. Thanks for your input.
There’s been a flurry of news about the various plans for reopening schools. If you missed Dr. Ahern’s email that was sent on Monday, here is a link. If you missed DESE’s guidelines, click here. Pressed for time? Here’s my summary of DESE’s guidelines, “The Commonwealth is wicked eager for schools to open in September no matter the lack of finances and specific guidelines for student and educator safety.” If you are looking for a detailed analysis of DESE’s guidelines, I strongly encourage you to read the thoughts of Worcester School Committee member, Tracy O’Connell Novick. She is a thoughtful and prolific presence on Twittter and well worth a follow.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported zero COVID deaths which certainly qualifies as terrific news and stands as a testament to the widescale wearing of masks, thoughtful social distancing, and a slow roll into Phase I and Phase II of opening Massachusetts. However, this good news must be weighed aside the sad news from Arizona, Texas, Florida, California and many other states where the drastic increase of positive tests are forcing new restrictions. Dr. Fauci testified in the Senate on Tuesday that absent a dramatic reversal of these dire spikes, the nation could see 100,000 new cases a day. Morever, given the size of the country and the open borders between states, what happens in Las Vegas or Austin or Phoenix is not going to stay in Vegas, Austin, or Phoenix. None of us can predict what is to come, but let’s all try our best to stay informed, share our thoughts and questions with our elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels, and stay safe, so that when September rolls around, we will can say we were part of the solution.
The State passed an interim budget to keep the State afloat for July. Wiser minds than mine predict that the State will do the same come August and throughout the Fall. This course of action will allow them to kick the can of drastic budget cuts down the road until after the election and allow for the federal government to come through will much sought after and well deserved relief. For July, municipalities can expect the same check for Chapter 70 funding as they did last year and the same is expected for August. Most districts still anticipate an additional 10% or greater budget cut. For FPS, said 10% would be an additonal $2.4M in cuts. Our elected leaders at the federal level need to hear from each of us that states, cities, and towns need the same generous bailout that Wall Street enjoyed in 2008 and which many profitable companies enjoyed this spring. Yes, the MA delegation is pretty much on board with such relief, but such is not the class in many states. If you have friends and relatives in other states, give them a call, tell them you love them, ask about the weather, and encourage them to prompt their leaders into action.
There is not much to update as the June 23rd meeting of the Franklin School Committee provided scant info relative to Davis Thayer, the final draft of the facilities report for all elementary and middle schools, and the forthcoming recommendations. As stated in Dr. Ahern’s memo of June 29, “The report is anticipated to be completed this summer when it will be first shared with the Subcommittee and then presented to the full School Committee.” I will share a link for the subcommittee meeting as soon as it is available.
The Fifth Risk by Micheal Lewis, the author of Moneyball, is a fascinating look at the seldom examined yet crucial roles of government workers in our lives. You will sleep better at night knowing that so many selfless workers are working to keep us safe from extreme weather, black market uranium, and dangerous foods.
He’s not very good at wearing a mask, but Lincoln sure rocks a cowboy hat.