Gordon Optimistic about Renewal of State Aid for Military Affiliated Students

State Rep. Ken Gordon expects the Legislature to again approve more than $500,000 next fiscal year to offset some of Bedford’s costs in educating children of military dependents.

The Bedford allocation is part of a package that also benefits the schools in Bourne, location of Joint Base Cape Cod. Gordon noted that in recent years Lincoln has also received state funds since high school-age residents of the Hanscom base housing who are not children of active military attend Lincoln-Sudbury Regional.

Historically, the total has been $1.3 million. Gordon said that amount has been realized in nine of his 11 legislative sessions, and “the presumption is that it is level funded.”

Gordon noted that Gov. Maura Healey’s initial budget proposal reduced the line item by almost a third to $875,000. But almost all of her recommended cut was restored in the House of Representatives, led by Gordon with the increase co-sponsored by State Reps. David Vieira and Alice Peisch whose districts include Bourne and Lincoln, respectively.

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Last week, the House approved $1.225 million, more than 94 percent of the annual total. Gordon said he expects the Senate to approve the usual $1.3 million, which historically has occurred. But even if the number is unchanged, the shortfall in Bedford’s share is less than $30,000.

Gordon said he has met with state Sen. Mike Barrett on the differential. “He will do his best, and it has always helped,” Gordon said, noting that the final number will emanate from a legislative conference committee in late summer.

Dependents of personnel stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base have attended Bedford High School for 60 years under a perpetual agreement with the Department of Defense Educational Activity. Efforts that began about 20 years ago to increase the federal “impact aid” reimbursement were not successful.

Town and school officials turned to state funding with the rationale that since Hanscom Air Force Base is an economic engine for the entire state, the town shouldn’t have to bear the entire cost of educating military dependents.

After a few years of hit-and-miss allocations, the line item became an annual state budget feature after Charlie Baker was elected governor, Gordon said.

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