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Published: Tuesday, 6/22/2010

Bedford Schools retirements won't end deficit

BY ALIYYA SWABY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Forty-six Bedford Schools employees will retire after this school year, the Board of Education said at a meeting Monday.

The number leaves the district far from closing its $5.4 budget deficit for next year.

The board plans to finalize the reductions at a meeting Thursday.

Chief Financial Officer Josh Dyer said the personnel reductions would save the district system about $2 million.

Of the 46 employees planning to retire, 20 are teachers and three are administrators.

Assistant Superintendent Ken Graf said the district would replace some of the teachers who decided to retire, most likely with teachers newly graduated from college.

Eight employees were granted extensions and will retire sometime next year.

Mr. Graf said this was done to retain specific programs, such as the band program in one school, and allow them a way to save money later on.

The board had approved laying off 46 teachers only a month earlier.

Along with many schools in Michigan, Bedford is struggling to regulate its budget not only because of cost increases but cuts in state funding and declines in enrollment.

Mr. Dyer projected the district would lose 96 students in 2010 to 2011 and as many as 120 students in 2011 to 2012, which would reduce the amount of state funding the district received.

Over four years, decreased enrollment would cost the district $8 million, he said.

The district will overspend a projected $1.3 million next year, compared to $2.2 million this year.

He also predicted a 3.4 percent increase in health insurance next year, and a 10 percent increase in 2011 to 2012. Retirement costs also have increased by 2.47 percent for next year.

So far, the board has decided to balance the budget by making departmental cuts by 5 percent, reducing the spending on the fifth-grade band, locking in the price it pays for natural gas, and merging the athletic fund with the general fund.

Future considerations include more personnel cuts and closing one of the elementary school buildings in either the 2010-11 academic year or the next, Mr. Dyer said. Such a move could save up to $450,000,

The board has a June 30 deadline to finalize budget cuts.

Contact Aliyya Swaby at:

aswaby@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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