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BEDFORD, MI (Toledo News Now) -
Temperance Road Elementary is closing for the last time on June 7, and now, 15 teachers will be laid off from Bedford Schools, as well.
The closure and cuts are due to decreased funding from the state, a projected decline in enrollment of 100 students, and the deficit elimination plan required by the state of Michigan.
The plan was required for Bedford Public Schools three years ago. Districts in Michigan cannot operate in a budget deficit, even though Bedford's deficit is due, in large part, to state funding cuts.
"I don't think our legislators care," said Interim Superintendent Jon White. "I don't think they involve themselves. They just pass the laws that have unintended consequences…None of these teachers would have been laid off, had it not been for the deficit elimination plan."
White said it will be predominantly younger teachers being laid off, but some older teachers, as well, depending on what they teach. The teachers were selected based on administrative evaluations, not seniority. Teacher union representatives call it an unfair move.
"I understand that you have to do layoffs, and I know that's a hard thing for you to do," said Lisa Duran, BEA Union board member. "But this year, evaluations should not have been the basis for layoffs, and this is simply and utterly wrong."
Despite the layoffs and closure of Temperance Road Elementary, more cuts are likely. Incoming Superintendent Mark Klienhans will make those decisions.
White said that later this summer, once enrollment numbers come in, some of the 15 teachers may be re-hired.