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Bemidji School Board to address staff, program cuts

A lack of enrollment in the Bemidji School District's elementary and secondary schools may cause the district to cut staff and discontinue programs.

The Bemidji School Board will discuss this and other business at its regular scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, in the Bemidji High School Media Center.

A memo written by Bemidji Schools Director of Human Resources Jordan Hickman in the Dec. 21 school board agenda said the lack of enrollment caused by shifts in student interests, declining enrollment and financial limitations may require the termination of some contracts and the placement of other teachers on an unrequested leave of absence.

Hickman recommended the board adopt a resolution to move forward in those reductions in programs and positions considered necessary.

The Board of Education will also discuss a tentative agreement with the Bemidji Education Association for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.

Under statute, the contract between the district and its teachers needs to be signed by both parties by Jan. 15, 2010, or a one-time penalty fee of roughly $130,000 in the form of a reduction in state aid will be imposed on the District.

On Dec. 8, an arbitrator from the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services held a meeting with the district and the BEA to discuss a grievance filed by the BEA in late-August.

As of yet, no agreement between the two parties has been made.

In other business the school board will:

- Take action to enter Bemidji schools into the Bemidji State University student nurse practicum beginning Dec. 1 and ending Nov. 30, 2014.

- Adopt a resolution to establish a Parent Committee for American Indian Education in Bemidji Schools.

- Approve the submission of a health careers promotion grant from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education.