An Open Letter to Governor Baker from the Bedford Schools

Bedford Schools LogoRE: Reimbursement to qualifying municipalities for education of federal military reservation students

Dear Governor Baker:

On behalf of the Bedford Public Schools, we write to you to urge you to reconsider your 9C elimination of the $1.3 million military mitigation fund appropriation on which Bourne and Bedford so strongly depend.  Given the historical inequity that this fund helps to address, this cut is the equivalent of cutting Chapter 70 funding for two districts while holding harmless all of the other districts in the Commonwealth.

It is clear from your intention not to cut Chapter 70 funds that you seek to protect our schools from the impact of the budget shortfall.  Bedford and Bourne, which historically have born the entire fiscal burden of educating the children who reside on our two major air force bases, should not now be singled out to bear a disproportionate portion of the statewide budget cuts.

The state’s recent passage of HB4242, Section 125, which codifies its pledge of at least $516,000 to help offset the annual $1.2million that Bedford tax payers contribute to educate our Hanscom children, constituted a long fought for recognition of this nearly fifty year-long inequity.  Our legislators understood as well that the message of strong state support for military installations may go a long way to ensure the longevity of both Hanscom and Otis AFB.  To sustain this cut not only unfairly burdens two municipalities, but threatens to send a very mixed message to the BRAC Commission when it reviews potential base closings.

The Hanscom Air Force Base students who attend Bedford High School comprise an important part of our student population and contribute in key ways to the school’s identity.  We are proud to provide a world class education to the children of the families who risk their lives protecting all of our nation’s families.  However, one town’s tax payers should not shoulder the entire cost when the base generates over $8 billion in regional economic activity every year.

Sincerely,

Jon Sills,  Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
and
Brad Hafer, Chairman, Bedford School Committee

February 5, 2015

The Honorable Charles D. Baker
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Room 105
Boston, MA 02133

 


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