BEDFORD, Va. -

A consulting firm hired to study the efficiency of Bedford County Public Schools is recommending the division close two schools, while increasing the number of people who work in central administration.

During a public presentation Thursday at Bedford Elementary School, Prismatic Services encouraged Bedford County's school board to close Bedford Primary and Moneta Elementary schools.  Consultants said those schools are candidates for closure due to maintenance issues and low enrollment.

The study also recommended hiring more central office staff.  Consultants noted that in many areas, existing workers are "pushed to the limits".  They recommend hiring a chief operations officer, saying that central office "handles a lot of funds and therefore needs more supervision."

A total of 101 recommendations were made, including 20 places to spend and 12 areas to save.  The areas of spending total $5.4-million, including a suggestion of paying $220,000 to increase the workforce at central office.

Savings realized by the study recommendations would total $11.4-million, which would mostly come from the closing of the two schools and eliminating portable classrooms housed in mobile units throughout the county.

Bedford's school board is not obligated to implement any of the consultant's recommendations.  School board chairman Gary Hostutler said the suggestions will be studied and implemented by the board with full consideration and input from the community.