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Education

Bedford school board starts year

New members take oaths; officers elected

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Bedford school board members Ron Koch, center, and Dee Ellsworth are congratulated by other members after their swearing-in at a school board meeting held at Monroe Road Elementary School in Lambertville. Both won their seats as write-in candidates in the November election.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Board of Education has a new slate of officers, sort of.

At its 2013 organizational meeting last week, the panel re-elected Michael Smith as its president. He was nominated by Tim Brakel.

Elected vice president was Shawna Smith (no relation to Mr. Smith), who was treasurer last year. She was nominated by Wayne Meehean. Joe Gore kept his position as secretary after a nomination by Mr. Meehean, and Mr. Meehean, a trustee last year, was elected treasurer after he was nominated by Ms. Smith.

All the votes were 7-0.

During the meeting, new board members Dee Ellsworth and Ron Koch were sworn in. Both won their seats as write-in candidates in November, and both are retired Bedford Public Schools music teachers. No candidates were on the school board ballot.

Mrs. Ellsworth was band director at the junior high and taught fifth and sixth grade band before she retired in 2011, after 20 years with the district. Mr. Koch retired in June after 25 years with the Bedford schools. He was the high school band director and taught elementary strings and music appreciation.

They replace Jessica Pienta and Dale Barton, who both decided not to run.

Interim Superintendent Jon White swore in Ms. Ellsworth and Mr. Koch. “I’m happy to welcome you to the Bedford Board of Education,” Mr. White said.

During the regular meeting afterward, the board recognized the high school girls varsity cross country team and girls varsity volleyball team for their academic and athletic accomplishments.

The cross country runners had the sixth-highest grade point average among their peers in Michigan, said Mr. White, who added that he had been a long distance runner when he was young. He described the sport as “a very difficult and solitary existence.”

The volleyball players compiled a 65-13-3 record this season and placed second in the state tournament. With a team GPA of 3.64, they were academic All State as well.

In other business, the board commended Howard Schwager, the district’s director of human resources and labor relations, for a $1,500 check and certificate of recognition from the state’s Office of Retirement Services, which has been promoting its miAccount Web site for public employees. The Bedford district was recognized for having 72 percent of its personnel enrolled in miAccount.

Mr. White then gave an update on the district’s safety plan. The district’s six school buildings now have greeters at the main entrance in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month. Mr. White said other measures, such as adding intercoms, were being studied. Money would come from the capital improvements sinking fund.

Mr. White said he met with Bedford Township Supervisor Greg Stewart and Monroe County Sheriff Dale Malone about having the township’s 10 deputies increase their presence at the schools.

The board and Mr. White praised the sheriff’s deputies for their handling of a false bomb threat that was phoned in Dec. 21.

With help from Doug Kohler, the district’s director of information services, investigators identified the number from which the call was made and extracted a confession from a 14-year-old who was not a Bedford student.

The teen is facing juvenile charges.

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