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Kindergarten enrollment to be reviewed at Bemidji School Board meeting

BEMIDJI – The Bemidji school board on Monday will hear kindergarten-enrollment projections for the coming  years.

The numbers are important as the district looks to planning for future classroom space needs.

The school board meets at 6:30 p.m. in the media center at Bemidji High School.

Kindergarten-enrollment projections come from a combination of sources, including birth records.

According to the agenda packet, the kindergarten-grade 12 enrollment this year is at 4,905. That is expected to rise by nearly 2.5 percent to 5,027 next year and 5,138 the year after that.

Enrollment will continue to grow each year, reaching as high as 5,448 for 2018-19, according to the agenda packet.

“As we look at (the data), we see the unmistakable trend that our early-learning classrooms are getting larger and larger,” said Jim Hess, superintendent of the Bemidji School District.

As those classes grow, the district will need additional classroom space, he noted.

The topic of classroom space is not new. The Bemidji school board has confronted the issue several times and in 2011 asked voters to approve a $13 million bond for a new K-5 elementary school to be built near Bemidji High School. Voters handily turned that question down, 67 to 33 percent.

Hess said the school board will continue to talk about space needs and examine all of the possibilities.