TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools won’t be losing Deputy Randy Sehl as a school resource officer in December.
The board of education declined last week to approve a proposal to eliminate the deputy’s position to help balance the district’s budget by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
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. The board will have to find equivalent savings elsewhere.
The board vote was 3 to 3, with Shawna Smith absent. Board President Michael Smith was joined by Tim Brakel and Joe Gore in voting no.
Mr. Gore, a sheriff’s deputy himself, noted that a single officer would not be able to handle the duties of two, and that some of the programs the officers ran would be eliminated.
Costs for Deputy Sehl had been funded this year by an ad hoc group, Bedford Students Protected Through Combining Area Resources for Educational Safety, formed by two Bedford mothers. It set a goal of raising $80,000 annually for three years and has raised $34,000 so far. But its fund-raising has dropped steeply, and the school board had been expected to terminate the deputy’s contract. His last day of work was to be Dec. 6.
Deputy Sehl and his colleague Randy Krupp are credited with preventing fights, curbing drug use, and serving as role models.
Amy Driehorst, one of the ad hoc group’s founders, said 80 percent of the donations to BSP CARES came from businesses, but “parents never supported us. The fund-raising was never going to be successful unless the parents supported it.” She said she expected the group to disband.
Before the vote last week, Deputy Sehl urged the public to contact state legislators to increase school funding. He said the schools would continue to be safe with one resource officer, but that their safety would be weakened.
“Unfortunately, we cannot measure what won’t happen,” he said.
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