Legislative Update

by Broc Lietz, Business Manager

The legislative session is in full swing, and Dr. Schatz and I have spent a great deal of time in Bismarck following bills that address the primary legislative issues that Fargo Public Schools set forth. You may recall the District had three major areas of focus this session: Sustainable Long-term Funding, Early Childhood Education, and School Safety and Culture.

Below is a list of bills that currently fall within one of these categories and their current status (if applicable). Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any of these bills in further detail.

Early Childhood Education

  • HB 1356: HeadStart legislation has been turned into a Legislative Management Study.
  • HB 1429/SB 2229: Early Childhood grants available, permissive language allowing school districts to utilize local funds to support early childhood programs. (SB 2229 passed in committee, and is in Senate Appropriations now.)
  • The following bills all speak directly to the Autism Spectrum and have had committee hearings, but there has not been any action to date: HB 1037, HB 1038, HB 1039 and SB 2193. We continue to monitor these bills.

School Safety

  • SB 2267: Appropriation for school district safety and deferred maintenance. Not for personnel. One-time costs associated with safety and deferred maintenance. (Passed House Education Committee.)
  • HB 1215: Would allow school boards to meet in executive session to discuss gun policies.
  • HB 1283/HB 1366: Allows concealed weapons in schools if granted permission by the principal or governing body.

Education Funding

  • HB 1319:Primary K-12 funding bill
    • State aid payment for 2013-14 = $8,810/student; 2014-15 = $9,092/student.
    • Tightens local taxing authority by reducing current mill levy cap from 110 mills to 50 mills, yet provides flexibility by allowing for 10 additional general fund mills, and 12 mills for miscellaneous expenses and purposes. Also does not restrict the building fund or special assessment fund currently being levied by FPS.
    • Continues the excess mill levy provision with a vote of taxpayers by December 31, 2015.
  • HB 1237: On-time payments of Foundation Aid for school district growth. (No action.)
  • HB 1261: Appropriation for rapid-growth districts. (Referred to House Appropriations.)

Other Bills of Interest

  • HB 1466: A bill which would have the State of North Dakota providing $32.6 million of state funds for non-public schools. Fargo Public Schools opposes this bill and encourages you to contact your legislators regarding a “No” vote.
  • SB 2059: Increases the investment in NDPERS retirement by 1 percent each year for both employees and employers, effective January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015.