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Public meetings scheduled on possible school closures

The Minot Public School Board has scheduled public input meetings next week on the proposed closure of two Minot elementary schools to address a districtwide budget deficit.

The special board meetings are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at McKinley Elementary and Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Bell Elementary. The purpose of the meetings is to share a presentation from the district on the proposed realignment and for the board to hear input and concerns from school staff, families and other community stakeholders.

At a Jan. 18 meeting, board members had ranked possible measures offered by Superintendent Mark Vollmer to mitigate the $6.63 million budget deficit projected for the 2024-2025 school year. The top choice ranked by the board was the closure of middle schools with enrollments less than 300, followed by the closure of elementary schools with fewer than 100 students enrolled.

Vollmer said the closure of the elementary schools below that threshold would have a financial impact between $500,000-$1 million on the annual budget deficit.

The board revisited the question more concretely at the Feb. 5 regular board meeting and approved the decision to move forward with public meetings at McKinley and Bell on a 3-2 vote. Board President Mike Gessner and members Jim Rostad and Bonny Berryman voted to approve, while members Sabrina Herrmann and Mitch Kraft voted no.

The board’s next regular meeting is Feb. 15.

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