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Published: Wednesday, 5/19/2010

Information meeting Tuesday on Bedford Schools budget


TEMPERANCE - Calling school funding in Michigan a crisis, Bedford Public Schools officials have scheduled a town hall meeting for Tuesday in the high school auditorium to discuss the district's budget and outline the administration's spending plan for next year.

The meeting, where audience members can ask questions of school officials, is to begin at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Ted Magrum said the meeting will provide information about public school funding in the state.

"This is an extremely important event regarding actions which will affect our schools and community," Mr. Magrum said.

Convening parents, staff, and other community members, he said, "is the best way to get the correct information out to the public and to get the public's input."

Like other districts in Monroe County, Bedford is faced with budget cuts that must be put in place before June 30.

To balance the budget, the district must trim about $5.4 million in operating costs. Possibilities range from staff layoffs to borrowing from the district's savings.

Mr. Magrum said the district projects a $268 a pupil cut in state funding for next year, which is in addition to the $165 for this year.

Because of cuts in state funding, the district has made more than $12 million in cuts in the last nine years.

The presentation is to include an explanation on how state legislators are tackling school funding. The administration is to state the spending reductions it will ask the board of education to approve, Mr. Magrum said.

The audience will be able to ask questions after the recommendations are given.

Mr. Magrum said the board will take no action.

The administration offered about $1.3 million in potential budget cuts to the board in March.

The reductions included eliminating 10 instructional positions through retirements and layoffs as well as cutting a guidance counselor, assistant principal, and fifth-grade band.

The cuts would amount to nearly a $1 million.

Suggested ways to find an added $300,000 in savings and revenues were rehiring at reduced salaries employees who retired, eliminating sixth-grade band, lowering utility costs, and entering into an agreement on cell-tower leases.

Mr. Magrum said the audience will be encouraged to contact legislators in Lansing about the importance of school funding.

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