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Bemidji (Minn.) board votes to close elementary school

March 17, 2021
Budget woes force the board to shut down Central Elementary at the end of the school year

The Bemidji (Minn.) Area school board has voted to shut down Central Elementary School.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports that the board’s decision came as it faced a severe budget deficit in the wake of Covid-19 and falling enrollment.

To keep the state from coming in and taking financial matters into its own hands, the district must cut $5.6 million from its budget to fill the projected gap.

“The future is uncertain, and it is essential that we maintain a positive fund balance,” District Business Director Krisi Fenner said of her recommendation that the district fills the $5.6 million gap to put it back a positive $1.6 million general fund balance.

Superintendent Tim Lutz said closing Central has been under consideration for two decades as the smallest and oldest school.

“Unfortunately, we cannot delay the decision any longer and kick the can down the road for the next school board,” Lutz said.

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