Friday, March 6, 2009

What are they thinking?

When I read the article below I was floored. What are they thinking, why wouldn't the sitting board ask George Sleeman to step down? What message does this send to school children? What were the voters thinking? Did the voters know Mr. Sleeman served time for embezzlement? The piece below appeared in the Valley News via the Bennington Banner.

Former superintendent will take school board slot

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A former Bennington school superintendent who went to jail for embezzling school funds and perjury will accept a position on the school board.

George Sleeman was elected to the board on Tuesday as a write-in candidate.

Sleeman says he didn't know his name was being pushed for the vacant seat on the board of the Bennington School District.

Sleeman says he decided to take the position after speaking to his family and gauging public sentiment.

Sleeman was convicted in 1988 of embezzling $8,425 from school bank accounts and they lying about it. He served 13 months in prison.

State officials say there are no laws to prevent Sleeman from taking the seat.

So after I read the piece above I thought there most be more. So I read the full story in the Bennington Banner. You know what, I still don't get it. What is our world coming to today? Morals and ethics are just not a part of our governments today. Spouses on school boards, teachers in one district serving on boards in another district, ex-embezzlers on school boards, tax cheats running the highest levels of government, never ending nepotism, lobbyist giving gifts, pork filled bills, etc., etc., Too many people in government jobs have hijacked the system as their own entitlement programs.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Sleeman elected to BSD board

JOHN D. WALLER, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/04/2009 03:03:37 AM EST

Wednesday, March 4
BENNINGTON — A former superintendent who was convicted of embezzling school funds and perjury in 1989 was elected to a local school board on Tuesday as a write-in candidate.
George Sleeman, who served as superintendent of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union from 1972 to June 1985, when he was suspended by the board after a $2 million deficit was uncovered, received 45 votes for an uncontested three-year seat on the Bennington School District's Board of Directors.

He defeated Sean-Marie Oller, chairwoman of the Mount Anthony Union School Board, who received 42 votes as a write-in candidate. The Bennington School District is a member district of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.

Sleeman, now in his late-70s, had no idea he was running a write-in campaign, according to local activist Michael Bethel, a friend of Sleeman who orchestrated his campaign behind the scenes. "He didn't know," Bethel said Tuesday night, "but I hope he serves. He said he's going to decide (on Wednesday)."

Repeated attempts to reach Sleeman on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

He was convicted on eight counts of embezzlement and one count of perjury in 1989 by a Rutland District Court jury. Prosecutors alleged Sleeman embezzled $8,425 from two school bank accounts and lied about it at a 1986 state inquest into the matter.

Sleeman was sentenced to two years in Rutland Community Correctional Center. He served 13 months before being released on a three-month furlough on April 20, 1990. Bethel said it is time for community members to move on. "He's paid his dues," he said, "and everyone in the community speaks highly of him.

"I've gotten to know him over the past few years, and he's a great guy. I'm glad I got him the opportunity to say, 'Yes, I'll be on the board,' but that's his decision. I have the full confidence he'll do the right thing for the children, parents and taxpayers of this community."

Sleeman was also involved in a number of civil suits and counter-suits with local school districts until 1992.

The suits and attempting to recoup portions of the $2 million deficit, which developed from 1978-84, reportedly cost local districts more than $1 million in legal fees and audit costs.

Sleeman, a Bennington resident, has stayed out of the limelight since, only resurfacing once, in 2007, to challenge a comment made about a land deal, involving Molly Stark Elementary School, he oversaw in 1980.

Meridy Leibrock-Capella was the only candidate on the ballot. She earned the other open three-year term. Incumbents Peg Lochner and Jeanne Conner did not seek re-election.

Residents approved a budget of $10,546,410 for fiscal year 2010, 637-326, that reduced spending by $53,250 from the current fiscal year.

They also approved a joint-busing contract, 679-264, between the district and the Mount Anthony Union School District with DuFour, Inc. The contract provides both districts with busing for $720,594, $774,630, $832,770, $855,000 and $896,895, respectively, over the next five years. The contract also includes additional charges for transportation for special education, field trips and athletics.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Link - Federal Spending State and Local Public Spending

I have added a new link to the site. This link will help people monitor government spending if they so choose. The link is titled Federal Spending, State and Local Public Spending.


Retirement aged raised for some New Hampshire employees.

The following news is a break for New Hampshire taxpayers, but does not go far enough. Retirement age needs to be raised further with life expectancies so long. The pension system needs to be changed to a defined contribution plan from the current defined benefit plan. The current system is a Ponzi scheme. The following piece appeared as an AP article in the Concord Monitor.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

NH House supports raising retirement age for some

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire House is supporting raising the retirement age for newly hired police officers, firefighters and others in law enforcement.

The House voted 279-90 Wednesday to raise the retirement age from 45 to 50 years. The bill also would require the employees to work 25 years - five more than they do now, before qualifying for retirement benefits.

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee for review.

Last year, the House raised the retirement age as part of a bill overhauling the pension system, but police, firefighters and others affected by the change successfully lobbied the Senate to reject it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homeschoolers Are Taxpayers Best Friend!

I received the following piece from the Home School Legal Defense Association. I love this part in one of the statements below, "The opportunity to serve someone is a privilege, not an entitlement." This is also a great quote "Homeschoolers are some of the best friends the taxpayer has."

Every parent who homeschools in Croydon will save Croydon taxpayers between 10,292 - 12,301 per child during the 2009 - 2010 school year.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Homeschoolers Get Blamed, Again

On January 22, a committee of the Rapid City School Board implied that homeschoolers were to blame for the school system losing thousands of dollars in funding. Just six days later, the Clear Lake Courier blamed homeschoolers for the loss of $41,000 in school funding.

When homeschoolers are wrongly accused of creating financial problems for public school systems, it’s time to respond. HSLDA attorney Scott A. Woodruff sent the following letter to the editor to the Clear Lake Courier:

Dear Editor:

By leaving the blame for the school system losing $41,981 at the door of area homeschoolers, your recent article, “Students and aid lost from open enrollment,” encourages your readership to think that homeschoolers are the problem.

But it’s perfectly logical to reduce a school’s funding when it serves fewer students. If there are fewer students, the school needs less money.

The question that then remains is: “Since the opportunity to serve someone is a privilege, not an entitlement, what does the school plan to change to reduce the erosion of confidence among area families?” That’s the $41,000 question that went unasked and therefore unanswered in your article.

Next time the Clear Lake Courier talks about schools “losing” money because of homeschoolers, please mention how much homeschoolers save the taxpayer by educating their children at their own expense—not the taxpayers’. Homeschoolers are some of the best friends the taxpayer has.

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.

The True Cost of Education

The following piece appears on the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs website. The reason I am posting it here is because the same principles apply even though it is a different state. New Hampshire State officials, towns and school boards must be more transparent with taxpayers as to how their tax dollars are spent. Croydon itself does not have a debt issue as of yet.

Government employee pensions eat up an enormous amount of tax dollars every year. Retired government employees taking home pensions of over 100,000 dollars a year starting at 55 is not uncommon. Police and fireman retire as young as 45 with pensions of anywhere from 75% to 90% of their three highest years salary. Once retired they often go to another community to start earning a second pension while collecting on their first pension. A number of government employees end up earning up to three pension late in life. Some pensioners take home pensions of over 300,000 dollars annually. We could save taxpayers billions of tax dollars annually and solve the social security problem almost immediately if all pensions funds were moved to social security and all pensioners received social security like the rest of us taxpaying schmucks. These are government jobs, civil servant jobs people should not be getting rich off of the backs of taxpayers.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Let the Sun In

February 01, 2009
By Steve Anderson

Education officials are misleading Oklahoma's taxpayers about the real costs of public education. It's time for transparency.
Determining the real cost of public education is an extremely important issue," education scholars Myron Lieberman and Charlene K. Haar have correctly pointed out. "Substantially underestimated costs deceive the taxpaying public, mislead government officials who initiate legislation, and deprive students of educational financial equity."1

Unfortunately, "substantially underestimated costs" are precisely what we have in Oklahoma. And the reason is simple: Unlike schools in the private sector, the government's school accounting systems simply exclude many significant costs.

In 2005 OCPA's Brandon Dutcher and I set out to determine how much Oklahomans are really paying for their schools. In a study entitled Education in Oklahoma: The Real Costs, we presented a more comprehensive analysis of the costs of public education. Using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), we compiled the federal, state, and local expenditures on K-12 public schools in Oklahoma that were readily verifiable or calculable through third-party sources and that would be included on a regular financial statement.

We discovered that Oklahoma's per-pupil expenditure in FY-2003-the latest year for which data were available-was not $6,429, the oft-cited "official" number. Rather, it was $11,250.

If the CEO and finance division of any publicly held company attempted to influence public opinion with misstated financial data to the extent done by Oklahoma's education officials, they would be subject to criminal and civil prosecution. Indeed, according to Frederick Hess, a former public high school teacher and current director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, "school accounting guidelines would bring smiles to an Enron auditor."

The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman called our OCPA study "splendid." He said it represented "a real public service." The president of the state's most powerful labor union, by contrast, called the study "highly suspect," so we challenged the union to a public debate. Twice. We're still waiting to hear from them.

While we're waiting, I decided to update the numbers and take another look at where all this money is being spent. As was the case in 2005, my strategy was simple: I looked at every function that a private school would have to perform in a fiscal year, and then looked for the equivalent function in Oklahoma state government. Once the function was identified in a state agency, I traced how much of the agency's cost was related to public K-12 education and included those costs in my financial statement (see page 7).

The result? Oklahoma's per-pupil expenditure in FY-2007 was $10,942.2

To see how I arrived at this figure, let's begin with the numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE). According to SDE, Oklahoma-using a combination of local, state, and federal funds-spent a total of $4.07 billion in FY-2007 on public education at the local school level. Some of these expenditures were direct classroom expenditures, such as providing and operating the facilities and the actual cost of instruction. Others were related to support staff such as public relations officers, attendance officers, and non-instructional program directors.

But one doesn't have to look too hard to find additional expenditures which are currently avoiding the bright light of sunshine.

Debt Service

For example, SDE's report on debt service shows General Fund expenditures of only $287,766 for all the school districts in the state. But in reality, debt service for the Tulsa Public Schools alone 3 was $81,543,927 for the latest year available!

A total estimate of debt service left off the books is difficult to make, so for our purposes I took a conservative approach with an estimate of $300 million statewide.


In addition, more than $136 million in direct instructional costs are hidden in Oklahoma's CareerTech programs. In FY-2008, more than 314,000 students in grades 6 through 12 enrolled in at least one program at Oklahoma's technology centers.4 That's a large number-it's the equivalent of roughly half the K-12 student population in Oklahoma's regular public schools. Yet none of these CareerTech instructional costs are included in the "official" per-pupil average that is reported to the Oklahoma taxpayer.

In addition, CareerTech operates "Skills Centers," including three locations in juvenile facilities providing training to high-school-age offenders. Also, the Office of Juvenile Affairs conducts educational services for incarcerated youngsters. Despite the fact that both of these are clearly public education costs, I didn't even include these costs in this particular study.


In a private school typically a bursar collects revenue (primarily tuition) from which the school funds its operations. Oklahoma's public education system has several bursars at work performing this function. They are located in the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Oklahoma Lottery Commission, the Commissioners of the Land Office, and the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission. These agencies collect revenues for public education but are not included in the "official" cost of providing public education. To reflect this cost, I apportioned the costs of each agency in relation to the amount of revenue that each provided for K-12 education. I have recorded these costs in the total expenditures, just as a private school would show these costs under financial administration costs.

Retirement Benefits

Clearly, retirement benefits on behalf of teachers and support personnel are part of the costs of operating the public schools. But for some reason, the costs (employer contributions, agency costs, etc.) of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) are not included in the "official" per-pupil spending numbers. Moreover, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes paid directly to TRS are not included in the per-pupil numbers.

Additionally, TRS's General Motors-type defined-benefit plan typically adds debt-debt that would of course appear on the financial statement of any private school-which isn't included in the per-pupil numbers. This debt will be paid by future generations of Oklahomans. It's called the Unfunded Accrued Actuarial Liability (UAAL), and in FY-2007 it was $7.6 billion.5

One former state auditor and inspector indicated that TRS "faces possible difficulty in meeting its future obligations" and that "funding is not sufficient to amortize the UAAL."6 This retirement debt is the largest of the mounting "accounts payable" the education establishment is hiding from public view. But when TRS starts cash-flowing negatively, Oklahoma taxpayers will be footing the bill for retiring this debt.

Other Agencies

Not only is the cost of TRS excluded from per-pupil calculations. Even the cost of the State Department of Education itself is excluded! This is the agency which distributes funds to each school district and provides a host of administrative services. Clearly, SDE is part of the cost of public education.

There are other, more obscure agencies whose expenditures are not included in per-pupil costs. For example, Oklahoma has a special government agency, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation, which is responsible for "the accreditation of teacher preparation programs, the assessment of teacher candidates, and the ongoing growth and development of classroom teachers across the State." This accounts for another $5.8 million in costs.

Oklahoma operates a tuition-free residential high school called the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM), and also operates regional centers for other students gifted in science and mathematics. Of course, somebody has to pick up the $29,282-per-student costs at OSSM.7 That somebody is the taxpayer, of course, and this accounts for another $7.2 million.

There are also public education costs tucked into places like the state Department of Agriculture ("Ag in the Classroom") and the Oklahoma Arts Council. I have included only those program costs I could identify.


Any business which has buildings has an expense charge for the yearly depreciation of those buildings. This depreciation figure represents how much of the building was "used up" in a current year. Prudent stewards realize that "wear and tear" is a fact of life, and will consider this dollar figure to be a guide to how much money will be needed for repairs or replacements.

Oklahoma schools do not report the yearly depreciation of their buildings, so one is forced to make an estimate. As it happens, in 2006 the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) teamed up with three school districts to bring an "adequacy and equity" lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit claimed that the unmet, immediate capital needs in Oklahoma exceeded $3 billion.

Granted, approximating the actual value of buildings and structures based on that figure is difficult. However, consider that the Tulsa Public Schools Annual Report shows over $500 million in land, buildings, and equipment. Add in the Oklahoma City Public Schools and the other 500-plus school districts, and one can assume that Oklahoma school district assets are at least the equivalent of the OEA's unmet capital needs claim. I used an average depreciation of 20 years to approximate the yearly depreciation on structures and equipment.


Obviously one of the most important numbers used in the per-pupil calculation is the number of students. But even here, the education establishment is hiding something: dropouts.

One might think that Average Daily Attendance, or actual students served, would be the only acceptable figure for calculating per-pupil costs. However, the SDE 2006-2007 annual report uses several numbers-including the Average Daily Attendance, the Average Daily Membership, and an even more fascinating Weighted Average Daily Membership-to show school usage. In other words, in order to get more money the government counts as its "customers" people who don't actually show up.

Inner-city schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have graduation rates of roughly 50 percent. One wonders how much these students actually attended classes. For my calculation, I used Average Daily Attendance-the actual number of students who used services.

To read the consolidated financial statement click here.

Other Costs

There are many other costs I didn't include. For example, millions of dollars of public school costs-such as the costs of teacher education and the costs of remedial instruction-show up in Oklahoma's higher education budgets.
When informing the regents in 2000 that more than 48 percent of University of Oklahoma students admitted on the basis of their 3.0 high-school GPA needed remedial courses, OU president David Boren remarked: "I'm sorry to say this may be a statement as to how well students are being prepared in the rest of our education system." And in 2008, commenting on the fact that nearly 80 percent of Oklahoma's community college students have to enroll in remedial coursework, a spokesman for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education suggested that the students' "preceding educators might be to blame."


In the end, taxpayers spent more than $6.5 billion in FY-2007 on Oklahoma's public education system. That's $10,942.11 per pupil. If the OEA again thinks this number is "highly suspect," we at OCPA would welcome the opportunity to debate them on the matter.

In any case, it's clear that government officials owe Oklahoma's taxpayers more sunshine and transparency than they're currently getting. The financial statement on page 7 is a valuable and useful tool, but the only reason it exists is that a private think tank devoted the time and resources necessary to produce it. Taxpayers deserve better from their government.

Sunshine Week, spearheaded by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, will be observed March 15-21, 2009. That would be a good time for state Superintendent Sandy Garrett to announce that she will no longer allow the government's school accounting systems to play these games, and that her office will publish annually a financial statement showing the real costs of education.

Steve Anderson (MBA, University of Central Oklahoma) is an OCPA research fellow and a Certified Public Accountant with more than 20 years of experience in private practice. He spent two years as a budget analyst in the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, and was formerly a state-certified teacher with 17 teaching certifications.


1 Myron Lieberman and Charlene K. Haar, Public Education as a Business: Real Costs and Accountability (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2003), pg. 17.

2 This figure is down slightly from the FY-03 per-pupil cost of $11,250, primarily because the increase in the Unfunded Accrued Actuarial Liability (UAAL) was less in FY-07 than in FY-03.




6 Oklahoma 2004 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2004, "Independent Auditor's Report," pg. 24.

7 Governor Brad Henry, FY-2009 Executive Budget, pg. B-80.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blowing Away the Teachers are Underpaid Myth

In the article below two teachers will be making over $250,000 a year and they are complaining how they will be taxed under President Obama. You can't make this stuff up! Read it and weep! The never ending greed is just amazing. This also further points out why we can not lose our local control of education in New Hampshire.

The following piece appears on The Education Intelligence Agency website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Soaking the Rich. I offer in full and without further comment, this letter to the editor of New York Teacher, the organ of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), written by Ed Gruber, president of the Eastchester Teachers Association:

"In your Feb. 5 edition, it was interesting to see that NYSUT is joining 'most New Yorkers' and calling for a 'more progressive' income tax plan ('A matter of fairness') that would tax high-income New Yorkers making more than $250,000. Though the article was not specific, other news sources have specified that the tax would apply to households earning more than $250,000. What you are supporting alienates part of your membership.

"My wife and I are both employed as science teachers in Westchester County, and earned a gross household income in 2007 of more than $240,000. This year, we may top the $250,000 figure with step increases and extracurricular activities. Thus, NYSUT is suggesting that union teachers who worked hard to get good-paying jobs be taxed at a higher percentage than others.

"Most Westchester teachers already pay the painfully unfair Alternative Minimum Tax, which disproportionately taxes household income over $150,000 by taking itemized deductions (such as classroom supply deductions) away from high-income households.

"This threshold was never corrected for inflation. A progressive state income tax will tax high-earning teachers similarly to the AMT. Remember, you represent us as well."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Administrators' Salaries Updated

I have updated the link titled NH Administrator's Salaries on our BLOG. If you click the link you will now be directed to the most recent salaries.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Where is the Outrage?

Our fellow tax fighting friend Pete the Finance Guy sent me the following letter. I have not checked its authenticity but I agree 100% with the authors take on the current state of our Country.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

This letter was sent to the Wall Street Journal on August 8, 2008 by Alisa Wilson, Ph.D. Of Beverly Hills , CA . in response to the Wall Street Journal article titled "Where's The Outrage?" that appeared July 31,2008.

Really. I can tell you where the outrage is. The outrage is here, in this middle-aged, well-educated, upper-middle class woman. The outrage is here, but I have no representation, no voice. The outrage is here, but no one is listening for who am I?

I am not a billionaire like George Soros that can fund an entire political movement.

I am not a celebrity like Barbra Streisand that can garner the attention of the press to promote political candidates.

I am not a film maker like Michael Moore or Al Gore that can deliver misleading movies to the public.

The outrage is here, but unlike those with money or power, I don't know how to reach those who feel similarly in order to effect change.

Why am I outraged? I am outraged that my country, the United States of America , is in a state of moral and ethical decline. There is no right or wrong anymore, just what's fair.

Is it fair that millions of Americans who overreached and borrowed more than they could afford are now being bailed out by the government and lending institutions to stave off foreclosure? Why shouldn't these people be made to pay the consequences for their poor judgment?

When my husband and I purchased our home, we were careful to purchase only what we could afford. Believe me, there are much larger, much nicer homes that I would have loved to have purchased. But, taking responsibility for my behavior and my life, I went with the house that we could afford, not the house that we could not afford. The notion of personal responsibility has all but died in our country.

I am outraged, that the country that welcomed my mother as an immigrant from Hitler's Nazi Germany and required that she and her family learn English now allows itself to be overrun with illegal immigrants and worse, caters to those illegal immigrants.

I am outraged that my hard-earned taxes help support those here illegally. That the Los Angeles Public School District is in such disarray that I felt it incumbent to send my child to private school, that every time I go to the ATM, I see "do you want to continue in English or Spanish?", that every time I call the bank, the phone company , or similar business, I hear "press 1 for English or press 2 for Spanish". WHY? This is America , our common language is English and attempts to promote a bi- or multi-lingual society are sure to fail and to marginalize those who cannot communicate in English.

I am outraged at our country's weakness in the face of new threats on American traditions from Muslims. Just this week, Tyson's Food negotiated with its union to permit Muslims to have Eid-al-Fitr as a holiday instead of Labor Day. What am I missing? Yes, there is a large Somali Muslim population working at the Tyson's plant in Tennessee . Tennessee , last I checked, is still part of the United States . If Muslims want to live and work here they should be required to live and work by our American Laws and not impose their will on our long history.

In the same week, Random House announced that they had indefinitely delayed the publication of The Jewel of Medina, by Sherry Jones, a book about the life of Mohammed's wife, Aisha due to fear of retribution and violence by Muslims. When did we become a nation ruled by fear of what other immigrant groups want? It makes me so sad to see large corporations cave rather than stand proudly on the principles that built this country.

I am outraged because appeasement has never worked as a political policy, yet appeasing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is exactly what we are trying to do. An excellent article, also published recently in the Wall Street Journal, went through over 20 years of history and why talking with Iran has been and will continue to be ineffective. Yet talk, with a madman no less, we continue to
do. Have we so lost our moral compass and its ability to detect evil that we will not go in and destroy Iran 's nuclear program? Would we rather wait for another Holocaust for the Jews - one which they would be unlikely to
survive? When does it end?

As if the battle for good and evil isn't enough, now come the Environmentalists who are so afraid of global warming that they want to put a Bag tax on grocery bags in California; to eliminate Mylar balloons; to establish something as insidious as the recycle police in San Francisco. I do my share for the environment: I recycle, I use water wisely, I installed an energy efficient air conditioning unit. But when and where does the lunacy stop?Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map, the California economy is being overrun by illegal immigrants, and the United States of America no longer knows right from wrong, good from evil. So what does California do? Tax grocery bags.

So, America , although I can tell you where the outrage is, this one middle-aged, well-educated, upper middle class woman is powerless to do anything about it. I don't even feel like my vote counts because I am so outnumbered by those who disagree with me.

Alisa Wilson, Ph.D. Beverly Hills , California

Quote of the Day "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." -- Ben Franklin, 1766