Norfolk County

Key vote could impact school staffing in Franklin special election

FRANKLIN, Mass. — More than one hundred people gathered in Franklin Monday, urging residents to vote “yes” on a tax override to support the school district.

“Just kind of across the board our public system is going to be decimated,” said Donna Grady, president of the Franklin Education Association.

There’s a special election Tuesday when voters will decide whether to approve a tax hike to generate $6.8 million.

Most of that funding would support the schools.

As of Friday, about 40 teachers received a pink slip, warning them of layoffs if this override fails.

“If your student is one of those kids that have connected with one of those educators, it’s devastating, this budget deficit, if we can’t get the override is going to impact every family in Franklin,” said Grady, who’s also a kindergarten teacher.

She says not only will the district lose teachers, but also programs like AP classes and electives.

“Theater’s like my life and so to lose that would be horrible and wouldn’t allow me to have the experience I need to get into college and stuff,” said Jason Dimatteo, a student at Franklin High.

“We are going to see a huge cut in personnel facing students, we’re going to see a cut in programs, we’ve seen a decimated music program, orchestra program, we’re going to see an increase in fees for after school sports, we’re going to see an increase in bus fees,” said Grady.

If this override passes, the average homeowner in Franklin could pay up to $800 more a year in taxes.

“It is a pinch, it is a pinch, and I just don’t know where it ends,” said Ray Fioravanti, who lives in Franklin.

Some residents say they plan to vote “no” Tuesday, opposing a tax increase.

“The price of everything has increased a lot, groceries are way up, fuel is way up and people are struggling,” said Fioravanti. “I’m not going to say I can’t afford it, I think we all can afford it, but I think it’ll be a stretch and I would rather see just better management of the resources that we have and can project accurately.”

The special election is all day Tuesday at Franklin High School from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A lot of students also plan on walking out of school Tuesday morning to show support for this override.

“Our budget has been so unstable for so many years, people don’t want to have to worry every year, do I have my job?” said Grady.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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