Community starts with children

Why does the district need this referendum? 

  • About 80% of the district’s revenue comes from state funding. Unfortunately, the annual state funding increases have not kept up with the rate of inflation since 2008.  This means that for the district to offer the same services that it did 13 years ago, more funds are needed from the community.

  • ISD #31 is approximately the size of Rhode Island but gets the same amount of state funding for transportation as a small metro district. This means that each year we have to take money out of the general fund to make up for losses in transportation. 

    • We have been lobbying the legislature for over 10 years about this issue with no success. The only way to fix this is with legislative change. We cannot cut bussing costs without impacting students' ability to get to school.


  • The district has already cut $4 million.  Cutting additional programs will result in loss of students to open enrollment.  This further reduces state funding.  “We cannot cut our way to success.”


What happens if the referendum does not pass?


  • The school district will enter statutory operating debt which means they do not meet the budget requirements set by the state.  The Minnesota Department of Education in St. Paul will come in and make cuts and other decisions for us.  They will not take community input into account when making changes. 


  • Class sizes will increase as we will need to cut more teachers. 


  • Possible cuts to programs such as Show Choir, Robotics, Music, Art, Sports, JROTC, Career Academies, Advanced Placement Classes

  • Possible closure of another school resulting in fewer neighborhood schools


  • Possible ending of the high school block schedule


  • Possible reallocation of grade levels


  • The overall quality of Bemidji schools will decrease, leading to

    • Greater loss of students 

    • Less retention of community members (families move here for our quality schools)

    • Loss of professionals such as Doctors, Dentists, Business owners 

    • Negative impact to the economy and reputation of Bemidji 

Tax Table: