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Bemidji schools to consider additional principal

BEMIDJI - The Bemidji School Board will consider hiring an additional elementary school principal when it convenes Monday for its regular meeting.

The School Board will convene at 6:30 p.m. in the media center at Bemidji High School.

The meeting agenda includes consideration of an additional elementary principal position that would oversee Paul Bunyan Elementary and the district's Early Intervention program.

Jordan Hickman, director of human resources for the district, stated in a memo included in the agenda packet that the district reduced the number of building principals following the 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 school years due to declining student enrollments.

In 2004-2005, there were 14 building principals and in 2012-2013, there were 10, he noted.

"As the District has experienced student enrollment growth over the past several years, we have increased the number of teachers and support staff positions to provide appropriate levels of staffing for the additional students," he wrote in the memo. "However, we have not increased the number of building principals during that time. This has resulted in an increase in the student to principal ratio of approximately 48 percent over the past 10 years."

Noting that the district has added classrooms at Paul Bunyan Elementary and is experiencing growth in its Early Intervention program -- which offers free home-based services to special-needs children aged 0-3 -- he recommends the district hire a principal to oversee them.

"This will provide the additional principal staffing to support the growing elementary enrollment and allow for the principals assigned to Horace May Elementary and Northern Elementary to serve those buildings on a full-time basis," Hickman wrote.