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Published: Monday, 2/4/2013

Bedford school board to interview superintendent applicants in few weeks


TEMPERANCE — The search to find a Bedford Public Schools superintendent is on track, with the board of education likely interviewing applicants in the next several weeks, school officials said.

The deadline to submit applications was Friday, Interim Superintendent Jon White told board members during last week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Michigan Leadership Institute, a consulting group, is helping the school district in the search. Michael Wilmot, the institute’s president, is recommending 8 to 12 applicants interview before the board, Mr. White said.

Feb. 11 and 12 have been mentioned as potential dates for the first round of interviews, with Feb. 19 and 20 as potential dates for follow-up interviews with the finalists.

Board President Michael Smith said the board wants to choose a superintendent as soon as possible. “We don’t want to lose a quality candidate to another district.”

Mr. White took over as superintendent on an interim basis Oct. 1, replacing Ted Magrum, who stepped down after three years. Mr. Magrum took over for Mr. White, who was superintendent from 2005 to 2009 and worked in the district 40 years.

The permanent superintendent will face the challenge of trying to fix district financial problems that school officials say weren’t caused by excessive payments to staff, but instead inadequate funding for public education.

The district is operating under a deficit-elimination plan that must be followed so spending aligns with revenue by the end of the 2014-15 year. However, Mr. White said during last week’s town hall meeting that the district might seek an extension from the state on that plan because projections show the deficit likely will exceed the $906,000 it believes will be on the books for the 2012-13 year in the debt elimination plan.

Mr. White said the administration plans to ask the board to amend the budget Thursday to reflect a $1.1 million deficit.

School officials also discussed holding town-hall meetings Feb. 27 or March 6 to have the administration propose plans to close one of the district’s four elementary buildings. A decision on the plan would not be made by the board at the town hall meeting.

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