TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools board of education defied expectations Thursday and declined to eliminate a school resource officer.
The district pays for two deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office who are assigned to the schools full time. Eliminating one would save $80,000 a year, and this cost-cutting move was included in a plan filed with the Michigan Department of Education detailing how the district intended to bring its spending into alignment with revenues by the end of the 2014-15 school year. The board now will have to find equivalent savings elsewhere.
The cost of one deputy has been funded this school year with money raised by an ad hoc group, Bedford Students Protected Through Combining Area Resources for Educational Safety. The group has collected about $34,000, but its fund-raising has fallen steeply, and the board was expected to approve elimination of the deputy's position effective Dec. 6.
The resource officers in the positions are Randy Sehl and Randy Krupp. Deputy Sehl was to return to the sheriff’s office rotation. The deputies are popular in the district and are credited with preventing fights, holding down drug use, and serving as role models.
But when the cost-cutting measure came up for action, the vote was 3-3, with board member Shawna Smith absent. Board president Michael Smith was joined by Tim Brakel and Joe Gore in voting no.
Mr. Smith said he believed the two deputies “bring a great deal of value to the district.”