TEMPERANCE -- The Michigan Department of Education has approved the plan submitted by Bedford Public Schools to eliminate the district's budget deficit by the end of the 2014-15 year.
In a letter, the state agency informed school officials it was important "that the district implements the strategies included in the plan and submits monthly budgetary control reports on time."
It described its acceptance of the plan as a "contingent approval," and expressed reservations that the plan "is largely dependent on both staff reductions and wage concessions yet to be negotiated."
Superintendent Ted Magrum said he was relieved the district had three years to bring spending into alignment with revenue instead of the two years the state Department of Education normally gives.
The district filed the revised plan in February, after submitting a plan last August that would have balanced the budget in two years.
The second plan contained the same set of cost-cutting measures, which include concessions from teachers, elimination of high school busing, closing a school building, elimination of one of the two Monroe County sheriff's deputies assigned to the schools, and outsourcing nonteaching jobs such as bus drivers, bus aides, and custodians.
The plan calls for more than $900,000 in concessions from teachers, who have worked without a contract for two years.
The board of education was to vote last week to declare a negotiating impasse with the teachers' union, the Bedford Education Association, and impose the district's last, best offer.
But the district put that action on hold while the two sides scheduled more talks.
The plan filed with the state projects the district to be in deficit by $1.76 million in 2012-13 and by $779,000 in 2013-14. Under the plan, the district moves into the black at the end of the 2014-15 year, with a surplus of $19,539.
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