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Published: Wednesday, 7/15/2009

4 posts open as Bedford officials assess needs

BY JULIE McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Public Schools has four open teaching positions that could be filled and help to blunt the force of some layoffs approved last month.

Ted Magrum, interim superintendent, said the district has posted openings for two reading specialists and two special education teachers for art and music.

Officials are assessing staffing levels, enrollment trends, and other factors before determining whether and how to fill positions, Mr. Magrum said.

How much money the district ends up with from last school year as well as state cuts of per-pupil education funding for the upcoming year also will need to be factored in to any decisions, he said.

"Every month the economy gets worse, especially in Michigan," Mr. Magrum said.

As part of an effort to cut more than $2.2 million from the coming school year's budget, the Bedford Board of Education last month approved a plan to lay off two elementary teachers, fifth-grade and junior high music instructors, a media specialist, a special education teacher, four student support coordinators, and others.

Part of the cutbacks also involved not replacing retired employees, including elementary, junior high, and high school teachers and staff.

A plan to eliminate one of the two sheriff's office liaison officers, however, fortunately did not come to fruition, Mr. Magrum said.

Grant funding was used to reinstate that position in the final plan, he said.

The district had made more than $10 million in budget cuts in seven years.

Meanwhile, the district is in the midst of a search for a new superintendent.

The Michigan Association of School Boards was hired to conduct the search for a permanent replacement for Jon White, who retired after a 40-year career with the district.

Richard Ramsey, a superintendent search consultant with the Michigan Association of School Boards, is heading the search.

A rough timeline has been setto fill the district's top post.

The position officially will be posted in August and community and staff forums will be held in September to gauge what residents and those who work in the district want in a new superintendent."The board expects it will do some interviewing in October and try to have someone named in the position in early November," Mr. Ramsey said.

There wasn't adequate time to get a new superintendent before the school year started and waiting until the fall, Mr. Ramsey said, will allow more participation in the process.

Mr. Ramsey described Bedford as a strong school district and anticipates a strong number of candidates from the Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio area.

Blade Staff Writer Meghan Gilbert contributed to this report.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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