Politics & Government

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Water Commission’s section chief for the Northwest Area Water Supply project says he believes NAWS has a strong case to make to fight an appeal.

Darcy Bakkegard / Prairie Public

A philanthropist who has been working on school reinvention and reform said North Dakota is uniquely positioned to be a leader in helping students prepare for new jobs and careers that will be created in the near future.

Ted Dintersmith is an author – whose book “Most Likely To Succeed” – has been made into a film. Dintersmith was in Bismarck to speak to the Department of Public Instruction’s Fall Education Conference. He was on a panel to discuss education innovation with Gov. Doug Burgum and state school superintendent Kirsten Baesler.

ND working on the dropout issue

Oct 12, 2017

Officials with the state’s Department of Public Instruction say North Dakota is doing well in terms of the number of students who finish high school on time.

"Our overall graduation rate is staying fairly stagnant," said Joe Kolosky, the Department of Public Instruction's deputy director of the Office of School Approval and Opportunity. "It's increased about .10 percent in the last four years."

Kolosky said the on-time high school graduation rate is right around 90 percent.

The president of the North Dakota University System’s state staff Senate is concerned about employee morale in the 11 colleges and universities.

"Morale has been really down," said Bismarck State College employee Retha Mattern. "It's been that way ever since budget allotments and budget cuts started happening to our campuses."

Matter said the system has lost a lot of people – due to reduction in force, buyouts and early retirements. She said that affects those who are left.

The North Dakota University System’s Council of College Faculties has written a letter to the chair and vice-chair of the state Board of Higher Education, outlining its concern about “a lack of procedure” concerning a report on the system’s Chancellor.

Children's Health Insurance Program in ND OK for now

Oct 3, 2017

The authorization – and funding – for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program have run out, effective October first.

Congress has not yet acted to reauthorize and fund it.

The program – called “Healthy Steps” in North Dakota -- is available for children who are in households that may not qualify for Medicaid, but where the family can’t afford to buy health insurance.

Some states have now stopped accepting applications for the program. Others have said they will soon run out of money for it. But, in North Dakota, the situation is different.

"Succeed 2020" called a success

Oct 3, 2017

In 2011, the Hess Corporation donated $25 million to North Dakota for a program dubbed “Succeed 2020.”

"It's a statewide program, aimed at helping North Dakota students be ready for college and careers," said Louise Dardis, the manager of the Succeed 2020 program.

Dardis said says the goals of the five-year program were very ambitious.

"A successful transition from school to college and careers for all North Dakota students," Dardis told Bismarck reporters. "And I stress -- all North Dakota students."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Legislative Management Committee has decided to go ahead with a lawsuit over some of Gov. Doug  Burgum’s line item vetoes from the 2017 session.

The action came after a nearly one hour meeting in closed session, as committee members talked to attorneys.

The scope of the lawsuit is yet to be determined.  But House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) said the litigation will be about whether a Governor can veto a portion of a sentence of a spending bill and change its meaning.

New state revenue forecast coming at the end of Oct.

Sep 28, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

There will be an updated North Dakota state revenue forecast.

It will most likely be available toward the end of October.

"In the past, we always did three revenue forecasts per biennium," said state Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. "But in light of everything that's going on, we've decided we should do four in a biennium."

Sharp said the new forecast is important, in light of drought conditions over parts of North Dakota. But she said it’s also a good practice to have more frequent forecast updates.

ND University System

The North Dakota University System is seeing growth in the use of “open educational resources.”

"In its simplest form, it's electronic versions of textbooks," said NDUS vice-chancellor for academic and student affairs Richard Rothaus. "But its more exciting form includes multi-media, video simulations, games, links to historic documents -- the whole gamut of pulling in what is out there that is available and free."

Rothaus said the Legislature invested $100,000 in promoting the use of OER in college classes.