2 officials say good-bye to Bedford district

Bedford’s interim chief re-retires; board member exits over health

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    TEMPERANCE — A few eyes misted over last week as the Bedford Public Schools Board of Education bade farewell to its interim superintendent and a veteran board member who announced she was resigning.


    Jon White came out of retirement on short notice to fill in as superintendent this past school year, pending the hiring of a superintendent, to replace the retiring Ted Magrum. Shawna Smith was the longest-serving board member, first elected in 2002, and re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Both said it had been an honor to serve the district and work with the board.

    In his valedictory remarks, Mr. White urged the board to communicate freely with Mark Kleinhans, the district’s new superintendent, who starts today.

    “The only thing I ask is that you have an open dialogue [with Mr. Kleinhans],” he said. “He is a good guy, and you need him more than he needs you.”

    Alluding to the school system’s struggle to emerge from a financial deficit, he predicted “a whole new string of challenges” in the coming year, with further cost-cutting adopted in keeping with the district’s binding deficit-elimination plan.

    Edward Manuszak, the assistant superintendent of instruction and student services, then read a proclamation detailing Mr. White’s many years of service to the Bedford schools as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent, and interim superintendent.

    The board adopted the resolution, which proclaimed last Friday as Jon White Appreciation Day in the district.

    Ms. Smith, who has missed recent meetings, said she was resigning for health reasons effective last Sunday.

    She thanked her family for excusing her from the many functions she missed over the years because of her school board duties. She has worked with three superintendents and 20 board members.

    The district is seeking applicants to fill the seat for the remainder of her term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014. To be eligible, an applicant must be at least 18, a U.S. citizen, a registered Michigan voter, and a resident of the district for at least 30 days.

    A letter no longer than two pages and containing the applicant’s background and community service should be sent to Secretary of the Board of Education, Bedford Public Schools, Attn: Superintendent’s Office, 1623 W. Sterns Rd., Temperance, MI 48182. The deadline is 4 p.m. July 15.

    In her end-of-the-year budget report, Chief Financial Officer Sharon Ramirez maintained her optimism that the district was gradually working its way out of deficit. She projected that during the 2013-14 year, the school system’s spending would be $764,770 less than its revenue.

    “We are no longer spending more than we are taking in,” she told the board, but cautioned the carryover deficit from past years meant the district still would finish the coming school year in the red by $820,435.