State Awards $711,852 Grant To Bourne Schools
By: Alex Scofield
Massachusetts Senate President Therese M. Murray (D-Plymouth) presented a check for $711,852 to Bourne Public Schools at Bournedale Elementary School yesterday.
The check represented a state grant to help Bourne schools in educating students from military families on Camp Edwards. The grant was the largest single contribution Bourne has received from the state.
“We don’t see something like this every year, especially in trying times,” said John A. Ford Jr., chairman of the Bourne Board of Selectmen.
There are 225 students who live on the base and attend Bourne Public Schools. The federal government usually does not send Bourne Public Schools the full obligation incurred by the town, Sen. Murray said. “In fact, usually, they send us very little. ... We couldn’t get the funds from the federal government, no matter how we tried,” said Sen. Murray.
However, Sen. Murray continued, “The commonwealth has stepped up.”
In 2005, the state set up a fund to assist Bourne with the expenses of educating children who live on the base. Since then, Bourne schools have received a total of about $2.5 million in state assistance.
Thomas M. Guerino, town administrator of Bourne, said that educating children who live on-base brings diversity to the town’s schools.
Children in military families often are asked to make serious sacrifices, said Major General Joseph C. Carter, who was present at Bournedale yesterday with more than a dozen soldiers from the base. Military children often have their lives uprooted as their parents receive transfers across the country or internationally. “That’s a lot for a child to experience,” General Carter said.
The relationship between children on Camp Edwards and Bourne schools continues to evolve. Until the early 1970s, children on the base were educated in four schools on the base. The schools later were turned over to Bourne Public Schools, and the military children then attended the town schools. Three of the school buildings on Camp Edwards still stand, and one of them, Otis Elementary, remained open as part of the Bourne system until two years ago.
Bourne has always been committed to educating children on the base, Sen. Murray said, but its commitment carries a cost. “It’s such a little town, with not a lot of resources,” she said.
Steven Lamarche, superintendent of Bourne schools, expressed his appreciation for the grant. “The Bourne
Public Schools have worked diligently to be fiscally responsible,” he said. At this time, he said, there is no plan in place for how the grant money will be allocated.
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