TEMPERANCE -- The campaign to raise money to retain a Monroe County sheriff's deputy at the Bedford Public Schools is well under way.
Two mothers with children in the district said that, as of Monday, they had raised $1,300 as of Monday. They attended the Board of Education's regular meeting last week at Monroe Road Elementary School and made another public appeal.
Amy Driehorst and Regina Whalen announced their fund-raising drive late last month after the school board reluctantly approved eliminating one of the two school resource officers to save the strapped district $80,000 per year.
They have formed a nonprofit group called BSP CARES, for Bedford Students Protected through Combining Area Resources for Educational Safety. It aims to raise $80,000 a year for three years to cover the cost of keeping the deputy in the schools. Their immediate goal is to raise $15,000 by March 30, the date by which the sheriff's office must be notified if the resource officer is to be eliminated for the next school year.
Ms. Driehorst and Ms. Whalen said the donations began to arrive on Thursday, the first day of the campaign. Early donors included Sidelines Sports Eatery and Pub, Fischer Tool and Die, Nerdy Designs, and the Bedford Senior High Parent Teacher Student Association, and the Francis Family YMCA, which will donate its facility for a fund-raiser.
"We haven't knocked on any doors yet," Ms. Driehorst said. "We have organizations, businesses, and individuals coming to us."
The women have scheduled the first fund-raiser for 12 p.m. to midnight March 11 at Sidelines. They have slated a meeting for 7 p.m. at the Bedford Branch Library to organize volunteers and are hoping for a good turnout.
"We need you to come out so we can put you to work," Ms. Whalen told the audience at the school board meeting.
Superintendent Ted Magrum and the school board praised the women for their public spirit.
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"We had two fantastic ladies step up and say I'm not just going to complain, I'm going to do something about it," Mr. Magrum said.
Board member Shawna Smith thanked the pair "for stepping up to do this. The two of you should be applauded, so thank you." The audience and officials then gave them a round of applause.
The resource officers, Randy Sehl and Randy Krupp, are extremely popular with parents, students, and school staff, and are credited with preventing fights and bullying, curbing drug abuse, and serving as good role models.
The district, however, must eliminate an operating deficit, and has filed a plan with the state outlining its planned cost cuts. Under that plan, Deputy Sehl would be dropped from the schools and return to the sheriff's office rotation and bump another deputy with lower seniority.
The Bedford Community Foundation is administering the donated funds at no cost. Donations can be sent to Bedford Community Foundation/BSP CARES, P.O. Box 216, Lambertville, Mich. 48144 They can be made online at bedfordcommunityfoundation.com.
BSP CARES has a Facebook page as well.