Bedford swim club gets status of varsity sport team

Athletes now can attend state meets


TEMPERANCE — The Bedford High School Kicking Mules can now be called the “Swimming Mules” as well.

The school board recently granted the Boys Swim and Dive Club team varsity status.

The club swims at the Francis Family YMCA and in the last six years has competed with a full schedule that made it the functional equivalent of a varsity team.

During the 2012-13 season, a club member qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association swimming and diving meet but was unable to compete because his team lacked varsity status.

“As a result of the Bedford High School Boys Swim and Dive Club not being recognized by their high school district as a varsity sport, the boys competing in this sport are unable to earn a Bedford varsity letter and they are unable to attend the MHSAA state meet if and when they qualify,” the swim club’s co-coaches, Lu Ann Bauer and Holly Scheffer, wrote in a detailed memo to Superintendent Mark Kleinhans.

The coaches noted that swimmers living in the Bedford district had chosen to attend private schools or other Monroe County schools to compete at the varsity level.

A varsity boys swim team would not require financial support from the district, Ms. Bauer and Ms. Scheffer said.

The costs would continue to be borne by participants, who pay the coaches’ salaries and entry and officiating fees.

Fund-raisers also are held to defray costs.

In other business, the board recognized Cherie Reed, the district’s director of adult education and community enrichment services, for putting the Bedford schools in a select group of eight Michigan districts that met all of the state’s performance requirements.

This recognition by the Michigan Department of Workforce Development came with a $10,000 award.

Mr. Kleinhans praised Ms. Reed for her management of the program.

Ms. Reed in turn credited her staff.

The money will be used to expand adult computer instruction and buy materials for the new graduation-equivalency diploma program.

The board also approved recalling three laid-off teachers to reduce the size of kindergarten classes at the three elementary schools.

With an additional teacher at each school, class sizes would shrink from a range of 30 to 32 students to 21 to 23.

Mr. Kleinhans said the recalls will cost about $180,000.

“We’ll put it in the budget and find a way to fund it,” he told the board.

The board also approved $14,674 for two new hot-water boilers and a storage tank at Bedford Junior High School. Funds will come from the district’s five-year capital plan.