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Bemidji School Board: District staff cuts made

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Bemidji School Board: District staff cuts made
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Bemidji School Board has cut staff at various levels in the Bemidji School District for the 2009-10 school year.

The board made the decisions Monday night.

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These cuts are part of a series of decisions facing the board as it aims to make about $2 million in budget adjustments for next year.

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

To address the deficit, the board is considering $1 million in staff reductions, which is the equivalent to 18 full-time-equivalent employees, and $1.1 million in spending reductions.

In the area of staffing, the board has explored ways to reduce "ratio" positions by 11 FTE at the elementary, middle and high school levels and "non-ratio" positions by 7 FTE throughout the district.

In general, "ratio" positions are funded by the district's general fund and "non-ratio" positions are funded by grants or special education funds, according to Jordan Hickman, director of human resources.

The board primarily made cuts to licensed staff Monday night. The board is also considering cuts to non-licensed staff.

The board did not make spending cuts Monday night.

Elementary schools

For cuts at elementary schools, the board voted 4-2 to accept the first of three options presented by administration.

Board chairwoman Carol L. Johnson and board members Ann Long Voelkner, Steven Johnson and Gene Dillon voted in favor and board members Bill Faver and John Pugleasa voted in opposition.

This vote was the fourth vote made Monday night on cuts at elementary schools. The original vote to accept the first option failed 2-4, and the second vote - to accept the second option - tied 3-3. A third vote was held - and was unanimous - to reconsider the first option.

In the fourth vote, the board selected the first option 4-2. The option was to:

-- Cut a full-time classroom teacher in the fifth grade at Northern Elementary School.

-- Cut a full-time classroom teacher in kindergarten or the first grade at Central Elementary School.

-- Cut a full-time classroom teacher in the fourth grade at Horace May Elementary School.

-- Reduce allied arts by 0.7 FTE.

The total reduction is projected to equal about $244,000.

Middle school

For cuts at Bemidji Middle School, the board voted 4-2 to accept the third of three options presented by administration.

Board chairwoman Carol L. Johnson and board members John Pugleasa, Gene Dillon and Ann Long Voelkner voted in favor and board members Bill Faver and Steven Johnson voted in opposition.

The selected option was to:

-- Shift from three pods to 2.5 pods in both the seventh and eighth grades, eliminating two FTE eighth-grade teaching positions and two FTE seventh-grade teaching positions.

The total reduction is projected to equal about $264,000.

High schools

The board voted unanimously to accept administration's proposal for cuts at Bemidji High School and Lumberjack High School.

At BHS, cuts totaling 2.64 FTE were made in business education, orchestra, physical education, social studies, industrial technology and world languages.

The total reduction is projected to equal about $174,000.

At Lumberjack High School, cuts totaling 2.29 FTE were made in English/language arts, social studies, math, science, business education, physical education, art, health/wellness and world languages.

The total reduction is projected to equal about $151,000.

Alternative

For cuts at First City School, the board voted unanimously to cut two full-time paraprofessionals rather than cut one FTE licensed teacher.

Cutting the two paraprofessionals, which are non-licensed positions, is projected to reduce the general fund by about $25,300.

The board did not make a decision Monday night on potential cuts at Bemidji Youth Learning and Working program. At ByLAW, it was proposed to cut one or two paraprofessionals. Both positions are non-licensed positions.

Other district areas

The board also voted unanimously to make staff cuts in other areas in the district.

They are the following:

-- Cut a full-time teacher on special assignment in the area of No Child Left Behind.

-- Cut a full-time teacher on special assignment in the area of technology integration.

-- Reduce one FTE teacher on special assignment position in the area of gifted and talented to a 0.5 FTE position.

-- Cut one full-time Developmental Cognitive Disabilities teacher at Bemidji High School.

-- Cut one full-time teacher at the Bemidji Middle School Alternative Learning Program.

-- Cut a 0.25 FTE work experience coordinator at Lumberjack High School.

-- Cut a 0.5 FTE Safe and Drug Free Schools social worker.

Administration had proposed cutting the teacher on special assignment position in the area of gifted and talented. Had that position been eliminated rather than reduced to half time, the total reduction in the general fund from the cuts in these areas of the district was projected to equal about $253,400.

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