Bemidji School District Operating Referendum Does Not Pass
Voters did not approve the Bemidji Area School District’s operating referendum on Tuesday, which would levy a property tax increase that would address the district’s budget deficit. There were 11,725 votes against the operating referendum, which was about 60% of the vote, and 7,851 voting for the operating referendum, averaging about 40% of the vote.
The ballot question asked voters to replace the district’s current $180 per pupil levy with a $460 per pupil level to avoid making cuts to the district’s programming and staff.
In addition, Gabriel Warren, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Bemidji State University, will be a new member on the district’s school board. The district had three vacant seats, one being current board member chair John Gonzales who did not seek reelection. There were four candidates who filed for the three vacant seats, two of whom are incumbents.
Warren had 8,212 votes, securing the district’s third vacant seat over Wenona Kingbird, who had 7,134 votes.
Incumbent Ann Long Voelkner, who received 9,449 votes will retain her seat, and Incumbent Jeff Haack, who received 9,758 votes, will also retain his seat.