State raises per-pupil funding for next year

But increase only returns district to 2006-07 level


TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools will get an additional $60 per student in state funding next school year, instead of an expected $34 increase, which will mean a total increase of $276,396 for its stretched budget, the district’s chief financial officer told the school board last week.

“This is very good news,” CFO Sharon Ramirez said at the regular board meeting.

She had more: the district also is in line to receive a one-time “equity increase” of $50 per student, for an additional $230,330.

Then Ms. Ramirez put the numbers in perspective: Even with the increases, the district’s state funding was only at the 2006-07 level.

In the 2011-12 year alone, the state cut support to Bedford’s schools by $470 per pupil, or about $2 million, she said. The district also has been hit hard by shrinking enrollment, and is expected to lose another 100 students next year.

At the Board of Education’s budget workshop last month, Ms. Ramirez said she expected the district to finish the 2012-13 year with a budget deficit of $1.05 million.

In 2013-14, the shortfall is expected to shrink to $766,249. A deficit elimination plan filed with the Michigan Department of Education outlines a schedule of cuts the district must make to bring spending into alignment with revenue by the end of the 2016-17 school year.

These include closing Temperance Road Elementary School last Friday for a projected annual saving of $850,000. Upcoming spending cuts include the elimination of bus transportation for high school students, switching from trimesters to semesters, and achieving further concessions in wages and retirement benefits.

In other business, the school board recognized a group of retiring employees. They are teachers Lynn Rodegeb, Bernal Koch, Barb Purdue, Clara Talip, Kathlene Bankowski, Pamela Pilewski, and Irene Skulas; paraprofessional Pat Mull; buildings and grounds workers Ric Beauch, Linda Gentry, and Terry Wagenhauser, and Ken Graf, principal at Temperance Road Elementary.

The board scheduled its public hearing for the 2013-14 budget for 7 p.m. June 25 at Monroe Road Elementary.