Bedford Schools administrators considering closing district's oldest elementary


TEMPERANCE -- For the second time in two years, Bedford Schools administrators are seeking the closure of an elementary school to save money.

Jon White, interim superintendent, told board members tonight that he is recommending closing Temperance Road Elementary in June and sending the K-5 students to the district's other three elementary buildings.

Closing an elementary school was among the reductions in the debt elimination plan the district submitted to the Michigan Department of Education. The three-year plan is designed to bring spending into alignment with revenue by the 2014-15 year.

Temperance Road Elementary, at 55 years, is the oldest elementary building in the district.

Mr. White and other administrators broke the news about the recommendation to teachers and staff at Temperance Elementary today before the school board's committee of the whole meeting.

"It was not a good time," he said. "They are devastated. Frankly there is no reason for the state to have put us in this position."

The district, which is forecasting up to a $1 million deficit in June, projects that closing an elementary building will save about $850,000 annually,

The closing of the school and the debt elimination plan will be the focus of a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium at Bedford High School.

"I will be explaining what we have to do and why we have to do it," Mr. White said about the town hall agenda.

The board of education will be asked to vote on the school closing at March 7's regular monthly meeting.

The district closed Smith Road Elementary in June, 2011, and shifted the sixth grade students in the elementary buildlings to the junior high.

Mr. White said the district will begin the process immediately of sorting out what schools the students at Temperance Road Elementary will attend next September and the bus routes for the elementary school consolidation.

"We don't have all of those answers right now. It will take time to develop all of those answers," he said.