Budget, block schedule on deck for Dec. 20 Bemidji school board meeting
Following a Dec. 15 special work session that focused on possible changes to the high school’s block schedule, the Bemidji Area Schools Board of Education will meet in regular session at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, in the district office board room.
BEMIDJI – Following a Dec. 15 special work session that focused on possible changes to the high school’s block schedule, the Bemidji Area Schools Board of Education will meet in regular session at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, in the district office board room.
The board plans to review this session at the meeting as a means of remaining transparent to the general public, a priority that convinced them to add this as an agenda item.
Superintendent Tim Lutz will provide a COVID update for the district, and for the first time in months, there will be no referendum update.
Despite this, the district’s budget will be at the forefront of discussion with the annual audit, completed by accounting firm Miller McDonald Inc. of Bemidji, made available for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
District Business Director Krisi Fenner will present balances for the district’s general, food service, community service, construction and debt service funds as well as enrollment numbers which drive most of the district’s funding formulas, staffing allocations and building space needs.
To address financial limitations along with shifts in student interest, District Human Resources Director Jordan Hickman will propose potential reductions in programs and their related positions, formal consideration for which will be made at either the March or April meeting.
“Lack of participation in certain offerings in the district’s elementary and secondary schools (. . .) may necessitate the discontinuance of certain programs and staff positions. This, of course, may also necessitate the termination of some contracts, and the placement of other teachers on an unrequested leave of absence,” Hickman wrote in a letter to the board.
Following former board member Jeff Haack’s resignation at the Nov. 15 board meeting , the board will review a member replacement process to fill the vacant sixth spot.
Haack’s reasons for resigning included shifting more of his time to focus on family and the Bemidji 31 Education Foundation Fund . He also noted that, “I realized with this referendum that (failed), maybe I don’t represent my constituency very well.”
Haack had been on the school board since 2012 and won reelection last year when he received 9,758 votes , 28% of the total.
The previous board meeting also saw the board unanimously pass the first reading of revised district policies to comply with the Minnesota School Boards Association Model Policy and legislative changes.
The board is set to adopt these policies after a second reading on Monday which include Harassment and Violence, Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy, Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records, Public and Private Personnel Data and School Weapons Policy.
They will also review three grant applications for Bemidji Career Academies . A $25,000 grant from the George W. Neilson Foundation would provide scholarships to BCA students attending Northwest Technical College following graduation in May 2022.
A $2,500 Walmart Local Community Grant would offset various participation costs, and a $476 grant would reimburse transportation costs for the 2021 Fall Tour of Manufacturing that took place in October.
The public can attend the meeting in person or watch the meeting on the Bemidji Area Schools YouTube channel .