Do the right thing for Bedford

To the Editor:

Nearly 20 years ago, I was one of those young first-time homebuyers who bought a home in Bedford due to the strong reputation of the school system.

I feel blessed every day that this is the town I chose to raise my family, as the schools are top notch. We take pride in our outstanding school system, and it attracts wonderful people and businesses who are relocating to New Hampshire or even from another New Hampshire town looking for a special place to raise a family.

Bedford has grown over the last decade, and as many of you with students know, our classes are often crowded, and sometimes at the high school students cannot even get into a class that they want or need as it is full. There is a critical need for more STEM classes. BHS would like to hire an additional science teacher and a part-time math teacher, as well as a part-time foreign language teacher. Lurgio has a need for a part time SEED teacher for the gifted students, and the district has a need for a few more paraprofessionals to help those with special needs. This can hardly be described as "boatloads" of new teachers.

Additionally, with the massive drug problem plaguing New Hampshire, the School Board hopes to hire an additional full-time drug and alcohol counselor for BHS and Lurgio. Young people are dying across the state of New Hampshire – and in Bedford – and we need to focus resources, awareness and education on this problem before it gets any worse.

Do you know that we have a very low per-pupil cost compared to surrounding or peer towns? In fact, our per-pupil cost is $2,300 less than the state average. This is especially impressive considering that all of the schools in Bedford are rated as top schools in the state of New Hampshire.

So let me rephrase: We pay less than other districts to educate our children and we attain better results. Our School Board, administrators and teachers must be doing something right.

Bedford is consistently recognized for high academic achievement, and noted in Forbes Magazine for being the best buck for one’s real estate dollar.

I have watched our School Board – really watched them. If you want smart, dedicated, fiscally conservative people working for you, then you are in the right place. Bedford has excellent schools because we support them, not because we undercut them.

Please vote "Yes" on Article 5. It’s the right thing to do.

Cyndi Cusack