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Bemidji School Board discusses budget adjustments

The Bemidji School Board has some decisions to make.

The Bemidji School District faces a deficit of about $2 million from overspending last year and projected overspending this year.

The district overspent by nearly $1.56 million last year in the general fund and was on target to overspend by nearly $944,000 more this year.

At its meeting Monday night, the board discussed making $2 million in budget adjustments.

The board already made mid-year adjustments at a special meeting in January. The board implemented a "soft hiring freeze," called back half the supply and equipment budgets from all schools, eliminated some planned big-ticket purchases and did not fill some vacant positions, Superintendent Jim Hess said.

With the mid-year adjustments, Hess said he believes the district will come close to reducing spending by $400,000 to $500,000 in this year's budget.

But with nearly $1.56 million in overspending last year and about $500,000 in overspending still projected for this year, the board will consider making about $2 million in budget adjustments for next year.

Noting the out-of-balance budget, Hess said the district received a total of a 4 percent increase in general education revenue from the state for the current biennium while the district's settlements with employees were around a 7 percent increase.

The board will examine its options at a work session Monday night. At that time, the board will review recommendations from district administrators for the approximately $2 million in budget adjustments.

The board will meet for the work session from 6-8 p.m. Monday in the District Office Conference Room.