education funding

State share of funding local schools drops slightly

Aug 9, 2018

In the current school year, the state of North Dakota's share of funding K-12 education dropped a bit.

"For '17-'18, it was about 75 percent state and 25 percent local," Department of Public Instruction director of school finance and organization Adam Tescher told the Legislature's interim Education Funding Committee.

The 2017 Legislature did not increase state aid to schools – but held it steady, while other agencies were reducing budgets. But Tescher told the Committee – local costs for schools still went up.

Student numbers up -- and that means more spending

Jan 26, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s K-12 student population continues to grow.

“Our fall enrollment count was 108,945," said Adam Tescher, the director of school finance and organization for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. He told the Legislature’s interim Education Finance Committee that was up more than 2,000 students from the fall of 2017.

Tescher says the projection for the next biennium is an increase of 2,900 students in 2019, and another 3,300 students in 2020.

Courtesy ND Legislature

Measure two on the November ballot deals with the foundation aid stabilization fund.

That fund is used to make up for any budget allotments to elementary and secondary education ordered by the Governor. Only the Governor can dip into it, and only after an allotment.

In the past year, it has been used twice.

The measure would allow the Legislature to access it – for educational purposes. Opponents said because the measure does not specifically spell out K-12 education, the money could be used for such things as higher education.

Courtesy ND United

Two North Dakota education groups say they are supporting a measure on the ballot that would allow the state Legislature to access money that has been put in the foundation aid stabilization fund.

The fund cannot be accessed until a Governor orders a budget allotment. That fund is then used to make K-12 education whole.

"It is a trapped asset," said ND United president Nick Archuleta. His group -- along with the ND Council of Educational Leaders -- say the measure should pass.

School "ending fund balance" bill fails

Feb 26, 2015

The House has rejected a bill that would limit what school districts can keep in the bank. Bismarck Republican Representative Mike Nathe says the bill would cap additional funding on a calculated percentage of the previous year's expenditures. He says it would prevent school districts from hanging onto those funds at the expense of tax payers.  Nathe says many small schools in western North Dakota have very large ending fund balances.

A Bismarck lawmaker has introduced a bill to give parents who send their children to non-public schools an income tax credit.

Rep. Mark Dosch (R-Bismarck) says it would be a $2500 credit. Dosch says one of the big reasons he introduced the bill is to save the state money on what it pays public schools  – which is close to $10,000 per pupil.

A House committee is looking at a bill that its supporters say would be more fair to school districts that are seeing significant enrollment growth.

The bill would change the “rapid growth” formula adopted two years ago. That formula was based on the yearly “average daily membership” count – which comes in spring, at the close of the school year. And it sets triggered levels of extra funding, based on percentages.

'Record' education spending bill pending

Oct 15, 2014

An interim Legislative committee is looking at the k-12 education funding proposal for the next two year period.

The price tag: $2 billion.

The chairman of the North Dakota House Education Committee says he hopes the interim Education committee will be able to get a handle on what it actually costs to educate a student in elementary and secondary schools.

Rep. Mike Nathe will be a member of that interim committee.

"With the new K-12 formula, we need to find out what is the true cost to educate our children in the k-12 system," said Nathe. "We will be working at that diligently, and gathering as much information as we can."

On a close vote, the House has passed a big education funding bill – that Governor Dalrymple touted as the vehicle for property tax relief.

As Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, the measure accomplishes that relief by increasing funding for local schools.