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Board OKs proposed preliminary budget

The Bemidji School Board met Monday to call a vote on the preliminary proposed budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The vote carried and a proposed preliminary budget of general funds is $48,689,192 in revenue and $48970,799. The total proposed budget for all funds is $57,098,446 in revenue and $57,264,942.

Chris Leinen, director of business services, submitted the budgets.

Currently, the proposed budget is about one half a percent away from being balanced, with only a $280,000 deficit remaining. The former balance was around five percent.

Several unknown variables remain that could still affect the balance of the budget including the negotiation process, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's possible cuts and the effect of federal revenues.

The proposed budget also did not assume inflation, as was assumed in the previous budget, and allowed zero dollars for federal stimulus funds.

The stimulus fund affect on the budget is unknown because of possible conditions that will likely apply, according to Leinen.

Superintendent Jim Hess called this approved proposal a summary of the current budget, saying that substantial progress has been made to nearly finish the budget process.

"It's been a very, very difficult process. We're 95 percent there right now," Hess said.

In other news, recommendations were made by Jordan Hickman, director of human resources, for reductions in programs and positions affecting licensed teaching positions, as well as non-personnel expenditures, non-licensed personnel, and administrative positions.

This motion carried in an effort to also address the District's budget shortfall.

Curriculum review

Kathy Palm, director of curriculum and administrative services, submitted teacher requisitions for new K-12 music, art and language curriculums. This motion carried and committee chairs, respectively, Mike Ohl, Jackie Schaffer and Amanda MacKinnon presented the results of their new curriculum assessments.

The new curriculum will be purchased after July 1. Curriculums stayed within the $200,000 budget.

Finally, the School Board discussed the search process for a new Bemidji High School and Bemidji Middle School principals.

The Bemidji High School is in the process of searching for a new candidate to act as principal and the search is closing this Friday. The new candidate will be chosen by the end of June.

James Wheeler, Bemidji Middle School principal, has announced his resignation and a notice for new applicants has been posted today.

The interview closing date will be June 29 and a new principal will be chosen by the end of July to the beginning of August.

The search process remained with an internal pool of candidates for the high school principal and both an internal and external candidate for the Bemidji Middle School principals.

The meeting adjourned and went into closed meeting.