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Published: Monday, 3/10/2014

Bedford schools to make case for levy

Kleinhans Kleinhans

TEMPERANCE — The pro-levy campaign in the Bedford Public Schools is getting under way, and a series of meetings and informational tours is planned during which school officials will make their case for the additional 4.37-mill construction levy that will be on the May 6 ballot.

Superintendent Mark Kleinhans will kick things off Thursday with a 6:30 p.m. forum in the cafeteria at Monroe Road Elementary School.

He will discuss how the $70 million in facilities improvements, if approved by voters, would be financed by a 30-year bond issue. The debt would be serviced by the new levy, the taxpayer impact of which would be softened by this year's expiration of two existing school taxes.

The owner of a $175,000 home would pay a net tax increase of $179.40 per year, according to district figures.

At last week’s regular board meeting, Mr. Kleinhans said the school board could have taken the easy way out and asked for $30 million to fix outdated elementary school buildings. But that would leave a future board “in a tough spot” 20 years from now, “with 10 years to pay on bonds and old buildings.”

The board’s plan envisions building a new elementary school and myriad of other upgrades to modernize and improve security at the district’s buildings.

Jackman, Douglas, and Temperance road elementary schools would be demolished, and the former Smith Road elementary would return to service with new classrooms.

The other tour sessions, all at 7 p.m., will be at Douglas Road Elementary, March 18; Jackman Road, March 25; the junior high, April 1; the high school, April 8, and Monroe Road, April 15.

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