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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Franklin Joint Budget Subcommittee Meeting Projects Large Deficit for Town

By J.D. O’Gara
Preliminary figures revealed at the March 6, 2024, Franklin Joint Budget Subcommittee Meeting reveal that the town of Franklin’s budget is and will be stretched in the coming year, coming up short by just over $10 million. Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Superintendent Lucas, Giguere, supported offered detailed overviews of funds coming in and funds going out, as well as what their needs were to maintain levels of services.
Hellen pointed out that Franklin, at about $3.2 million in revenue, will be stretched by increases in fixed costs such as pension assessments, municipal cost-of-living adjustments, facilities, OPEB and DPW. Following the town-level presentation, Hellen transitioned to the schools, handing the presentation over to Giguere, saying, “I believe the Superintendent made the correct decision to put in a request; we jointly recommended to the Committee to put forth the 12.29 percent, which would be level services with the restoration of some programs.”
Giguere explained the budget being considered is one considered a “Level Service +” budget. 
“It’s not about (the schools) having a bigger slice of pie, but a bigger pie. If we can make the pie bigger, I think we can solve some of these issues,” said Giguere at the meeting.
Dave Callaghan, Chair of Franklin School Committee, responded to the meeting.
“I thought it was a fantastic meeting,” says Callahan, “Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Superintendent Giguere just knocked it out of the park with the presentations. It was also widely attended, standing room only in the Council Chambers … it’s difficult conversation and topics, but it’s great that there’s so many people that are invested and asking the right questions. Jeff Roy said it best, ‘the people will decide.’”
One Franklin volunteers, who have been pushing for a permanent tax override to help support schools, and they say, by default, all town services, felt the presentation clearly illustrated the challenges the town faces, where Franklin voters will either pass an override, or cuts will have to be made. 
“I thought (the meeting) couldn’t have gone better, and I wish every resident in Franklin would watch this and understand what we’re up against,” says Ruthann O’Sullivan, of One Franklin. “The meeting was a full room with standing room only, and the deficit that the schools are facing will impact the whole town, and that’s why we need Franklin to come together.”
To view the meeting and learn more, visit:
or use the QR Code accompanying this article.
To view the presentation by Hellen and Giguere, visit 
Franklin residents can also learn more at upcoming meetings, but at the March 6 meeting Franklin Town Council Chair Tom Mercer stressed that numbers were still preliminary.
“On April 9th, (the School Committee) is expected to have the vote,” says Callaghan, adding, “April 12th, the Town Administrator releases his budget recommendations. Once that’s been asked, the schools reach out to the Town Council to state the amount we’d like to see.” Callahan explains that is when, if an override was needed, the School Committee would request that.
“But that is with the Town Council to make a determination to move, for the dollar amount and the date,” says Callahan.” 
The Joint Meeting of Town Council and School Committee is set for April 24 at 7 p.m. at Franklin High School. The agenda will include information about the override vote.
The Franklin School Committee will also hold a legislative forum with Senator Becca Rausch and Representative Jeff Roy on April 29 @ 7 p.m. at Franklin High School’s lecture hall (enter by gym, the down the left hall). The school committee will prepare questions around topics impacting Franklin Public Schools, as well as hear from these leaders on legislative initiatives they want to bring to the town’s attention.