Bedford school board authorizes layoffs

TEMPERANCE, MI (TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - The Bedford Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening  to authorize layoffs as part of a cost-cutting campaign to balance its budget.

The school board is still waiting for a big decision from the state, but couldn't wait any longer to put teachers on alert. They voted unanimously to authorize the administration to send out layoff notices to up to 45 teachers this week based on seniority.

"It's the worst thing in the world to put somebody in that concern and they are not sure if they are going to have a job next year and all of our families are struggling and they don't need that additional, that additional worry, that additional stress." said school board President Mike Smith.

The layoff notices were expected. The district's deficit elimination plan filed with the Michigan Department of Education calls for the elimination of the junior high school assistant principal for the 2012-13 school year for a saving of $125,000 and a school liaison officer from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for an $80,000 cost reduction.

However, a private fund-raising drive has collected enough money to retain the deputy for next school year's first trimester.

It's possible the layoffs will not be implemented if more personnel retire than expected or the state provides additional funding. So far nine teachers and three transportation workers have announced they plan to retire at the end of the current school year.

The deficit elimination plan includes eight teacher retirements to help achieve a $1.5 million spending reduction next academic year.

Bedford schools submitted a deficit elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last August, but the state has not decided whether it will accept it. They hope to have an answer by June 30.

If the state approves the deficit elimination plan, Superintendent Dr. Ted Mangrum says the layoffs would be drastically reduced to less than ten.

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