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Levy limit, program reductions on deck for Dec. 19 Bemidji school board meeting

An informal listening session will precede the regular board meeting at 4:15 p.m. at the district office. A Truth in Taxation meeting will follow the regular meeting at 6 p.m.

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BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Area Schools Board of Education will meet for its final regular session of 2022 at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19, in the district office board room.

The board is set to approve its recommended levy limit certification with taxes payable in 2023 and considered as revenue to the school district for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

“School boards are required to set a levy limitation in September and the final levy certification takes place in December following a Truth in Taxation Hearing,” District Business Director Krisi Fenner wrote in a letter to the board. “The final levy cannot exceed the initial levy limit except for a very limited set of reasons.”

Fenner detailed the levy limit certification of $10,805,134, a $554,174 increase — or 5.41% — compared to last year’s levy of $10,250,960. However, last year's levy limit saw a 7% decrease from the previous year, resulting in a net two-year tax levy decrease of 1.59%.

Fenner will also detail the district’s 6.2% tax base increase from the past year, the role of state aid and adjustments based on enrollment.

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The board will also seek recommendations for potential reduction in programs and positions, which will be presented for formal consideration at either the March or April board meeting.

“Lack of participation in certain offerings in the district’s elementary and secondary schools caused by shifts in students’ interests, as well as financial limitations, may necessitate the discontinuance of certain programs and staff positions,” District Human Resources Director Jordan Hickman wrote in a letter. “This may also necessitate the termination of some contracts and the placement of other teachers on an unrequested leave of absence.”

The public can attend the meeting in person or watch it on the Bemidji Area Schools YouTube channel.

An informal listening session will precede the regular board meeting at 4:15 p.m. at the district office. A Truth in Taxation meeting will follow the regular meeting at 6 p.m.

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