TEMPERANCE -- The Bedford schools have been in a rough patch, but they continue to provide a quality education even as the district deals with its financial challenges.
That was the message Superintendent Ted Magrum delivered to the Board of Education last week in his State of the Schools Presentation.
On the positive side, the schools are "high achieving," and continue to excel in state scores, he noted.
Bedford's five elementary schools last year finished in the top seven spots among Monroe County's 22 elementary schools. Bedford Junior High finished second among the county's nine junior highs, and the high school was third among the county's nine high schools. All of Bedford's schools made the academic goals of the federal No Child Left Behind Law during the 2010-11 school year.
Mr. Magrum said the schools were committed to remaining "student centered, learning focused, community engaged, and globally competitive."
In other favorable news, the superintendent said the district completed improvement projects, including the roof replacement at the high school, the removal and replacement of asbestos flooring in Douglas Road Elementary's hallway, cafeteria, and office, and Temperance Road Elementary's hallway and office.
The district continued to face challenges, he pointed out. Its enrollment is shrinking and its budget is in deficit. It has submitted a plan to the Michigan Department of Education for aligning spending and revenue. The proposals for cutting expenditures include employee concessions, closing another school building, and finding less costly medical insurance.
Decreased enrollment is expected to cost the district $366,392 in state aid this school year, Mr. Magrum said.
He said upcoming maintenance and repair concerns included the plumbing at the high school and junior high and the replacement of maintenance vehicles and buses. The parking lots at the junior high and Douglas Road Elementary also required attention.
In other business, the board recognized Bedford Heart Heroes, the volunteer group that raised $20,000 to buy defibrillators for the school buildings and sheriff's cars in Bedford Township, and the student artists whose work is to appear at the Focus Art Show at the University of Toledo.
The board also authorized hiring Mary Jane Pridgeon as a part-time math teacher at the high school at an annual base salary of $19,903 and approved the purchase of nine Scantron machines for scoring student assessments at a cost of $22,275.
In a 6-1 vote, the board adopted a resolution opposing House Bill 4929, which would bar public school districts from deducting union dues from employees' pay. The sole dissenting vote was cast by Tim Brakel, who said he felt the resolution involved the board in the petty politics of the state legislature. The measure has been adopted by the Michigan House and was sent to the Senate.