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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Bedford schools to lay off 45 teachers


TEMPERANCE -- Bedford Public Schools will send layoff notices to 45 teachers for the next school year to close a projected multimillion-dollar operating deficit. The board of education authorized the potential pink slips at a special meeting Tuesday.

Howard Schwager, the district's director of human resources, described the number as "a worst-case scenario" that would not necessarily be implemented in full.

Bedford does not know what its enrollment will be for next school year, he explained, and the deficit elimination plan it submitted to the Michigan Department of Education has not yet been accepted.

Colleen Jan, president of the Bedford Education Association, called the layoff notices posturing, saying that the two parties are to sit down next week for the first time to go over a fact-finding report for contract negotiations. The union has been operating without a contract since June, 2010. "It's another way of pressuring," she said.

A first deficit elimination plan was sent to the state in August, as required by state law, after the school board adopted an operating budget that left the district with a $2.36 million shortfall at the end of the current school year.

This plan would close the spending gap in two years, as the state normally requires. In February, however, the board approved another plan that would spread the spending cuts over four years.

If the state rejects the second plan, more drastic cuts will be required.

The district has been down this road before.

A year ago, it sent layoff notices to 103 teachers, or more than a third of its teaching staff. Eighty teachers were recalled and returned to their jobs in September.

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