TEMPERANCE — Having decided not to try again for a facilities levy this year, the Bedford Public Schools Board of Education is focused on producing a new strategic plan that will give it a better idea of what the community wants the district’s priorities to be.
The board is inclined to ask in November for renewal or replacement of the district’s 0.5-mill sinking fund levy for repairs that expires this year and, armed with better information from residents, return to the polls in 2015 with a facilities levy request.
The district’s previous strategic plan covered 2007-2012. At a special meeting last week, the board heard from a representative of the Michigan Association of School Boards, who walked members through how her group formulates strategic plans.
Karen Cross, a senior associate for innovation and business development, said the process would include a community survey to be launched in September and the formation of a strategic planning team that could include 35 to 40 Bedford residents from various walks of life, including clergy, township government, education, real estate, parents, students, district employees, law enforcement, parents, singles, seniors, and alumni.
“What we do not want is a room full of high school or elementary parents,” Ms. Cross said. She explained priorities cited by the residents of most districts tend to be finances, academics, technology, facilities, and community relations.
The board is assessing its options after the landslide defeat in May of its request for $70.35 million for building upgrades and construction of a new elementary school. In heavier-than-expected turnout, 62.59 percent of voters said no to the 30-year, 4.37-mill request.
The MASB process also would involve a comparison of the Bedford district with comparable school systems such as the Berkley schools in Oakland County. Board members wanted an Ohio district included, and agreed on Perrysburg schools.
Board member Michael Smith said he had been told by real estate professionals that families with children are settling in the Sylvania and Perrysburg school districts because their facilities are better than Bedford’s.
He said he would like to have the plan finished by February.
Former Monroe County commissioner and township supervisor R. LaMar Frederick warned the board not to overlook the 5,000 senior citizens in Bedford. “Their input, which you missed with the tax levy, is imperative. ...”
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