At approximately 4:30 a.m., Saturday, May 4, the 2013 legislative session drew to a close. The North Dakota Legislature meets for a maximum of 80 days every other year, and this session was the longest in history. (May 4 was the 80th day of the session.) Through it all there were many compromises, hard work, passion, and an ongoing commitment to the State of North Dakota.
As a review, here were the legislative initiatives from Fargo Public Schools heading into the session:
- Sustainable Long Term Funding
- Addressing Student Success
- School Climate and Safety
(The FPS legislative booklet, which details all of these, can be found here on the District’s website.)
Some of the pieces of legislation that passed will have an impact on how FPS proceeds with providing high quality learning:
HB 1013: This became a combination of the Department of Public Instruction budget and the K-12 funding bill. HB 1319 was the K-12 funding bill. It eventually got defeated on the House floor, and was rolled in to 1013. The highlights are:
- Per-Pupil Payments increase to $8,810 and $9,092 for the next two years
- Provides an additional 50 mills of property tax relief on top of the 75 mills from the 2009 session
- New General Fund mill levy cap of 70 mills
- $5 million increase in transportation over the biennium
- School Construction Loan fund increased to $200 million
HB 1286: This bill restricts the use of building authorities for school districts without a majority vote of the taxpayers on projects over $4 million. This bill is consistent with existing FPS policy; however, the law exempts all political subdivisions other than school districts.
SB 2036: A property tax relief bill, this law will provide $200 million in property tax relief in the form of a 12 percent credit against a property owner’s valuation.
HB 1429 and SB 2229: Both of these bills provide permissive language for school districts to utilize local funding to provide additional Early Childhood Education programs. SB 2229 calls for a DPI study regarding early childhood programming.
HB 1038: The establishment of an autism spectrum disorder registry, and to provide appropriations to the ND Department of Health for an autism spectrum disorder registry and to the Department of Public Instruction for autism spectrum disorder educational training and support. The total appropriation is just under $1.5 million.
HB 2267: A bill providing safety and deferred maintenance grants to school districts. There is a $3 million appropriation with grants for $10,000 available for each district provided there are matching funds from the district. Further, the remaining money will be distributed proportionately based on Average Daily Membership.
The formal legislative work is now behind us; however, our work has just begun as we put these new laws into motion.
Thank you all for your support throughout the session.