Bedford schools revs up campaign


TEMPERANCE — With about five weeks to go, supporters of the Bedford schools levy are ramping up their campaign to persuade voters of the need for a $70-million upgrade of the district’s buildings.

School board members, at a committee of the whole meeting last week, discussed the best ways to make their case to the public before the May 6 vote.

Board of Education member Lisa Beins-McCaig reported that Yes for Success, the pro-levy committee she heads, has attracted 60 volunteers and donations of about $600.

The committee meets each Monday at 7 p.m., and the public is invited, she said. Today’s meeting will be at Quimby’s Food and Spirits, 3636 W. Sterns Rd., in Lambertville.

Board President Michael Smith said levy supporters should go door-to-door this week and “knock on 1,000 doors.” He suggested Wednesday, from 5 to 7 p.m., for that effort, and also urged board members to recruit volunteers to make phone calls.

He tasked each board member with finding 10 locations for pro-levy signs that are on order but may not be displayed publicly until April 6 under a Bedford Township ordinance.

Voters will be asked to approve a 4.37-mill levy that would raise $70 million for an extensive upgrade of the district’s buildings. The tax would cost the owner of a $175,000 home an additional $179.40 per year, although the net new cost will be lower because two other taxes in the school district expire this year. The board’s plan is to sell $70 million of construction bonds.

If voters approve the levy, the district would get a new elementary school and myriad other upgrades. The high school would be the single biggest point of improvements — $27 million worth — including a 20,600-square-foot expansion. The new elementary school, at a yet-to-be-chosen site, is expected to cost $18 million.