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Voters back levy for Bemidji schools

BEMIDJI – Voters in the Bemidji School District supported the renewal of the $501-per-pupil levy Tuesday.

In complete but unoffiical results, the levy garnered about 66.5 percent of votes compared to 33.5 percent opposed.

The levy, renewed for seven years, brings in $3.2 million annually for the district. The levy funds new buses, all-day every-day kindergarten, and reductions in class sizes.

The average operating levy in Minnesota is $1,035, more than twice that of Bemidji’s, according to the school district.

Tuesday’s vote marked the second time in two years that voters in the school district weighed in on a referendum. In 2011, voters handily rejected a proposal to build a new elementary school. Then, 67 percent of voters turned down a $13 million bond package to build a new elementary school to be modeled after Lincoln Elementary and located on the Bemidji High School campus.

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