TEMPERANCE -- The Bedford Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday reluctantly approved the elimination of one of the district's two resource officers from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Thursday was the last day the officer, Deputy Randy Sehl, worked in the school system. He returns to regular sheriff's office duties, where he has been assigned to the Bedford Township substation.
Interim Superintendent Jon White emphasized at the school board meeting that eliminating the resource officer position was purely a cost-cutting move necessitated by the district's precarious financial situation. He said he had known Deputy Sehl since the officer was in high school and described him as "exemplary."
The decision was a painful one for the board to make. Elimination of the resource officer position is part of the deficit elimination plan, filed with the Michigan Department of Education, that will lead the district to a balanced budget by the end of the 2014-15 school year. The move will save $80,000 annually. The other resource officer, Deputy Randy Krupp, is being retained.
Both lawmen are popular in the district and credited with curbing drug abuse, preventing fights, and acting as role models.The nonprofit BSP CARES raised more than $30,000 to pay for Deputy Sehl's position, but donations have dwindled and it is discontinuing its efforts.
The vote was 5-1, with board member Shawna Smith absent. The no vote was cast by Joe Gore, who is a sheriff's deputy.
Last month the board deadlocked 3-3 on its first vote to eliminate the position, with Ms. Smith absent. It agreed to vote again after Mr. White expressed his disappointment and said he needed board support to properly manage the district's finances.