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Published: Monday, 2/11/2013

Bedford Public Schools shortfall increases to $1.2M

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE — Despite a better enrollment than expected, the Bedford Public Schools’ operating deficit will grow by about $300,000 in the 2012-13 school year, the Board of Education heard last week.

Jamie Cowan, the district’s interim chief financial officer, amended her projection to $1.2 million from $900,000. This includes a $627,000 operating shortfall carried over from the 2011-12 school year.

“We are spending more than we are taking in,” Ms. Cowan said.

Spending for the current year will be about $39 million and includes an extra $628,000 from Bedford’s higher-than-anticipated headcount of 4,707.

The state calculates a district’s funding according to enrollment.

But at the same time, costs have been higher than expected, Ms. Cowan said, and the forecast does not improve in 2013-14, when the system is expected to lose 150 students for a reduction in state support of $1 million.

The district has a deficit-elimination plan on file with the Michigan Department of Education that brings it into a balanced budget by the end of the 2014-15 school year, and the district may seek to extend it because of the higher-than-expected spending gap.

Bedford has been hard-hit by falling enrollment, cuts in state funding, and rising expenses. The district has closed Smith Road Elementary School and eliminated a school resource officer’s position, and a concessionary contract with its teachers included a 1 percent pay cut and higher medical-insurance deductibles.

In other action at its regular meeting last week, the board honored all the principals and assistant principals in the district, the participants in the 2012 Focus Art Show at the University of Toledo’s Center for Visual Arts, the First Robotics Lego League team, and the Techno Tigers of Temperance Road Elementary School.

Also honored was the Bedford Lions Club for its $1,000 gift to the One District, One Book program, a family literacy program.

The board also authorized the purchase of 8,400 reams of white copy paper from Contract Paper Group Inc. of Uniontown, Ohio, for $20,025.60 and approved tenure for Kelli Brandjord, a third-grade teacher at Monroe Road Elementary.



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