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Hoeven Signs Historic $1.3 Billion K-12 Education Funding Bill

Press Release

Location: Bismarck, ND

Hoeven Signs Historic $1.3 Billion K-12 Education Funding Bill

Gov. John Hoeven today was joined by Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, legislators, members of the Governor's Commission on Education Improvement, educators and students to sign House Bill 1400, a historic K-12 education funding bill that invests $1.3 billion in North Dakota's schools.

The legislation represents a nearly $290 million increase in state and federal education funding for the state, and includes $825 million for per-pupil payments, an increase of $100 million. In addition, the legislation specifies that no less than 70 percent of all new funds distributed to a school district must be applied to teacher compensation. The bill also includes increased funding for teacher mentorships, school counselors, tutors and capital projects, and creates an enhanced curriculum to better prepare students for the jobs of the future.

"In the last session, we passed the most significant reform in K-12 education funding in more than a generation," said Hoeven. "With the signing of this bill and our property tax relief bill, we are investing $1.3 billion in our schools, reducing the burden of taxes on our local communities and bringing the state's share of the cost of education to the long sought goal of 70 percent. This legislation represents an important step forward for our children, our workforce, our communities and our future."

The legislation adopts recommendations developed by the Governor's Commission on Education Improvement and included in the Governor's executive budget, and builds on the landmark legislation that was passed during the last legislative session to address the equitable funding of K-12 education in the state. The commission's focus this session was adequacy and ensuring that all students receive the necessary resources they need to meet meaningful educational goals.

"This legislation allows the Governor's Commission on Education Improvement to continue to put forth its recommendations to ensure that schools provide an adequate education for all students," said Dalrymple. "The commission has provided important tools and resources to help improve adequacy in our schools and to ensure that all students receive the educational opportunities they need to succeed."

"A great education is the key component to the success of our children and a vibrant future for North Dakota," said Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, House Education Committee Chair. "With the passage of House Bill 1400, every child in North Dakota will be afforded excellent educational opportunities, whether they choose to enter the workforce, pursue higher education or seek vocational training after graduation."

"I believe House Bill 1400 will do more to improve student performance than any bill in the last 50 years," said Sen. Tim Flakoll, Senate Education Committee member. "This legislation emphasizes and focuses on things that will significantly enhance student performance and will be the backbone of our education system and our economy for the next 50 years."

"I feel this legislation does it all for K-12 education and our citizens," said Rep. David Monson, Speaker of the House. "It provides added rigor, more equity and adequacy of both funding and programs. It uses all funding sources to our best advantage and reaches the 70 percent funding level that we have strived to reach for so many years. It is truly landmark legislation."

"This bill is the result of hard work and input from all the key players representing North Dakota's education system," said Sen. David O'Connell, senate minority leader. "School boards, superintendents, educators, legislators and state agencies all played an important role in crafting and passing this significant legislation for North Dakota's young people."

"This signing of House Bill 1400 marks an important milestone in North Dakota education history," said Dr. Wayne Sanstead, state superintendent of the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. "Today, we enhance our commitment to student achievement and to building a strong future for our youth and our state."

"House Bill 1400 is the culmination of many months of hard work by educational professionals and legislators," said Paul Stremick, superintendent of Dickinson Public Schools. "It is a comprehensive package based on proven research and best practices, and I am confident that all the hard work put in by everyone will make North Dakota's K-12 education system stronger."
Key provisions of the legislation include:

* A record $1.3 billion K-12 education funding bill, with a nearly $290 million increase in state and federal funding. (The ongoing state funding increase is $120 million; ongoing federal funding increase is $20 million; and one-time fiscal stimulus funding is $150 million.)
* $825 million in per-pupil payments, including an increase of $100 million. At least 70 percent of all new operating dollars are dedicated to teacher compensation.
* $85 million in new funding for capital projects and deferred maintenance.
* The creation of an Early Childhood Learning Council.
* An appropriation of $2.3 million to the Education Standards and Practices Board for a mentorship grant program to select and train experienced teachers to serve as mentors for first-year teachers.
* Additional funding for three professional development days for teachers.
* Increased requirements for counselor staffing from one counselor for every 400 students in grades 7-12 to one counselor for every 300 students.
* The presence of a tutor for every 400 students in grades K-3.
* A revised curriculum, with enhanced requirements, to better prepare students for the jobs of the future.
* A new Indian Education Advisory Council to help Native students succeed.
* A Longitudinal Data System to follow student progress from kindergarten to career in order to improve educational adequacy and meet the needs of the future workforce.
* Increased reimbursement rates for school bus transportation.

Members of the Governor's Commission on Education Improvement include: Lt. Governor Jack Dalrymple, chair; Paul Stremick, superintendent, Dickinson Public Schools; Jack Maus, superintendent, Grafton Public Schools; Martin Schock, superintendent, Elgin/New Leipzig Public Schools; Scott Privratsky, business manager, Devils Lake Public Schools; Sen. Tim Flakoll, Senate Education Committee; Sen. David O'Connell, Senate Minority Leader; Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, House Education Committee Chair; Rep. David Monson, Speaker of the House; Wayne Sanstead, superintendent, Department of Public Instruction; Doug Johnson, executive director, North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders; Jon Martinson, executive director, North Dakota School Boards Association; Greg Burns, executive director, North Dakota Education Association; and Mark Lemer, special advisor on state aid formula.

"I want to thank and acknowledge Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, Rep. Dave Monson, Sen. Tim Flakoll, Sen. Dave O'Connell, Superintendent Wayne Sanstead, all the superintendents, school officials, and the entire commission for the hard work and thoughtful recommendations that helped to make today's signing possible," said Hoeven.

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