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JEREMY OLSON COLUMN: Setting goals and improving outcomes

This fall we asked for your help in filling out educational benefit forms in the hope of increasing state aid. I am happy to report that your efforts have significantly helped our school district.

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Greetings from Bemidji Area Schools!

Veterans Day

I recently had the opportunity to attend several of our school’s Veterans Day programs and was reminded of the sacrifice that so many of our veterans and their families have made for the cause of freedom. Our veterans and their families understand all too well this cost.

The price demanded for freedom has taken various forms from those that laid down their lives, to those who were wounded, to those who suffered difficult deployments, and to those who stood guard over our country.

Freedom may be costly; however, the cost of tyranny is higher. Bemidji Area Schools would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of those who have and continue to serve our country. Please take some time to thank a veteran for their service and sacrifice.

School finances

This fall we asked for your help in filling out educational benefit forms in the hope of increasing state aid. I am happy to report that your efforts have significantly helped our school district.

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The way that this portion of the school finance formula works is that the qualifying educational benefit forms that are filled out generate state aid for the following school year. Our state aid to schools which is known as compensatory revenue has increased for next year's budget by almost $1.8 million!

While this increase is not enough to bring our current budget into long-term structural balance, it certainly puts the district in a much better fiscal position and closer to our long-term goal of budgetary balance.

Fortunately, these dollars are 100% state aid and therefore do not increase local taxation. I want to thank our community for this help and your continued support as we work to ensure strong fiscal stewardship that results in exceptional educational outcomes for students and families.

Transportation

We continue to struggle to secure the necessary bus drivers to fill current routes. This presents problems such as crowded buses and limits our ability to transport. This shortage of drivers may force us to run delayed routes or even cancel routes such as we have seen in other school systems across the state.

We want to continue to provide efficient and reliable school transportation for all of our families. I am asking for your help to spread the word that we need bus drivers. The district currently has open route and bus mechanic positions and we are also in need of substitute bus drivers.

If you or someone you know is interested in driving for us or has the ability to be a bus mechanic, please contact the district. We need your help to spread the word.

District goals

The school board has set the following three goals for this school year:

  • Rebuild enrollment
  • Enhance school safety
  • Increase mental health services

Bemidji Area Schools has a bright future ahead as we continue to work on improving instructional outcomes and work to become the school of choice in northern Minnesota.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to further discuss the direction that Bemidji Area Schools is moving, please feel free to connect with me in person at the District Office located at 502 Minnesota Ave. NW, by email or give me a call. Go Jacks!

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Jeremy Olson is the superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools. He can be reached at (218) 407-9645 or dr_jeremy_olson@isd31.net.

More columns from Jeremy Olson
Bemidji Area Schools has adopted what is known as a “standard response” protocol in cooperation with local law enforcement and under the guidance of our emergency operations committee. These responses are designed to keep students safe and provide common language throughout the district for how to respond to a variety of situations.

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