Bemidji, Minn. – Nov. 3, 2021

Bemidji area voters rejected a ballot question on Tuesday to revoke the Bemidji Area School District’s current $180 per pupil levy and replace it with a $460 per pupil levy to address the district’s budget deficit. The measure failed on a 3749 NO to 3432 YES vote.   

“We respect the decision made by school district voters,” commented Superintendent Tim Lutz, “but, this means that our budget issues remain unresolved. The school board will again be forced to look for ways to stabilize our budget through cuts to programs, staff and student services.”

The school board put forward the referendum to revoke the district’s current $180 per pupil operating levy and replace it with a $460 per pupil levy in order to avoid making cuts to programming and staff. The proposed operating levy was one step in a comprehensive plan to address the district’s budget deficit.

“Now that our communities have given us clear direction on our financial situation, we will need to move ahead with stabilizing our budget through continued prudent spending, making additional budgetary cuts, and working with state lawmakers to fully fund public education in Minnesota,” said Lutz. Lutz added, “I would like to thank all of those who worked so hard during the referendum campaign as well as those who supported our goal.  We maintained a solid effort, clearly communicated our message and need, and worked very hard until the last moment to pass this levy.  While the result was not what we had hoped for, we will honor the democratic process and move forward with our heads held high.”