State House Update: Funding for Bedford Schools

Submitted by Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and Representative Kenneth Gordon (D-Bedford)

Barrett-Gordon-LogoBedford’s state Senator and Representative led a contingent of Bedford government officials and parents to Beacon Hill last week to testify before the Joint Committee on Education on behalf of permanent funding for Bedford’s role in educating children of military families living at Hanscom Air Force Base.

Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and Representative Kenneth Gordon (D-Bedford) presented testimony alongside Bedford School Superintendent Jon Sills and Donald Gonsalves, a Department of Defense employee who lives at Hanscom with his two daughters, both of whom attend Bedford High School.  Gonsalves’ son is a 2010 graduate of Bedford High School.

“I often hear from military parents after they are transferred from Hanscom,” said Gonsalves after the hearing. “They talk about how valuable the education their children received at Bedford was to them, and how it is impossible to find it anywhere else.  I retired from active military, but I chose to live here, because of the Bedford schools.”

Sen. Barrett and Rep. Gordon were able to obtain funding for the education of Hanscom children as an amendment to the state budget this fiscal year – carrying forward an effort that began three years ago – but they are engaged for the first time in an effort to codify the appropriation.  “The difference is that we would have a presumption each year that funding would carry forward, rather than start from scratch,” said Gordon.

Sen. Barrett explained why the bill is important to Massachusetts from his unique perspective. “Hanscom brings jobs to my district,” he said. “Many of the towns I represent, not only Bedford but also Lexington, Lincoln, Concord and Carlisle, benefit from the presence of Hanscom Field. We need to show the federal government we’re doing our part. The education Bedford provides is an important selling point. All we’re asking is for state government to help the town provide this valuable service to our military.”

Joining the legislators and Gonsalves at the hearing were Selectman Mike Rosenberg, School Committee member Ed Pierce and Finance Committee member Ed Pierce.

“This has been four years in the making,” said Pierce, who took the day off from work to attend the hearing. “I would not have missed this for the world. It’s finally happened.”

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