Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Bedford schools accept $80,000 in cable dispute

TEMPERANCE - The Bedford Board of Education has accepted the offer the township board hoped it couldn't refuse.

The school board will take the township's offer of $80,000 in a lump sum to resolve a dispute over what the township owes the district under the terms of an old agreement involving the two bodies and Buckeye CableSystem Inc.

The agreement, which the township board approved in March, closes the matter.

"I am pleased that the board accepted the agreement, and now it's time for us to move on," Bedford school Superintendent Jon White said.

"I'm happy that we can put this behind us," township Supervisor Walt Wilburn said. "This is something there was a lot of misunderstanding [about]. We can get past this now and have a good relationship now."

The agreement calls for the district to be paid the amount immediately upon signing its acceptance, Mr. White said. "We will put that money into our broadcasting program."

Years ago, the township board agreed to pay $10,000 a year to the schools toward its journalism program, which would maintain a television studio the township could use. The district also would put $10,000 in the pot, and the cable company would give each contribution a $5,000 match.

When Buckeye took over the township's cable television operations, it asked that the contribution be taken out of the township's annual cable franchise fees, which come to about $175,000, said trustee Larry O'Dell. Buckeye CableSystem is owned by Block Communications Inc., which also owns The Blade.

Bedford broadcast journalism students used to operate the camera for the township's meetings.

When that stopped a few years ago, the township stopped sending payments to the schools.

Tom Dawson, senior manager of government and community affairs for Buckeye CableSystem, has said that the company has continuously remitted the franchise fee payments to Bedford Township since Buckeye CableSystem began providing cable services there in 2001 and was under the impression the money was for schools.

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