2016-2018 Legislative Positions

NDCEL Positions and Belief Statements for 2016-2018
Adopted October 18, 2016
 

REPRESENTATION:
A.  The NDCEL supports the continuation of the NDASA Legislative Focus Group to prepare position statements, supporting documentation and ongoing analysis of the work of the Interim Education Committee, and other Legislative Resolutions adopted by the Representative Assembly.  Further, this group will continue their work in both legislative and non-legislative years to support legislative concerns for k12 schools in North Dakota.  

FINANCE:
A.  The NDCEL opposes any legislation that creates new mandates without full funding.

B.   The NDCEL supports increased funding to the Foundation Aid program.  Any recommendations by the Legislature or any other entity that are adopted by the Legislative Assembly must be fully funded.  Further, any of these recommendations must be phased in over an appropriate period of time in such a manner that recognizes the current educational delivery structure in the State and provides districts with reasonable timelines to meet any new standards of performance. 

C.   The NDCEL opposes any measures that reduce or eliminate funding for school districts during the implementation period for any new initiative. 

D.  The NDCEL opposes increases to the Foundation Aid program that are used solely for Property Tax Relief, unless the overall funding level has been increased to meet the existing needs of school districts.  

E.   The NDCEL will advocate multi-year funding plan alternatives to the recommendation of the Picus Study or changes to the current finance formula for any of the following areas that may be under consideration for adoption by the Legislative Assembly:
      (1)     Increasing the model for staffing electives in the middle level from the recommended 20% to 40% to reflect the current middle school model largely in use within the State that reflects multi-disciplinary teaming and electives that promote exploratory experiences and 21st Century Skills;
      (2)     Adjusting the ratio of special education staffing from 1 teacher and 1 para per 150 students to 1 teacher and 1 para per 75 students.
      (3)     Raise the weights of English Learner (EL) of Level II equal to Level I.  The alternative would be to utilize the ELL test in the fall to determine pupil payment under the formula.
      (4)     Supporting the creation of a New American weight of .04 be added for those students labeled through the NDDPI as a refugee.
      (5)     Funding a multi-year plan that increases the number of Professional Development Days from 2 to 10 and provides for local discretion regarding when the days are scheduled and how the days are utilized;
      (6)     Funding increasing the number of instructional coaches to 1-to-200 students in K-12 schools.

F.   The NDCEL supports adjustments to the School Construction Loan fund to provide additional support for school buildings, not at the exclusive of adequate foundation aid funding.  The NDCEL further supports excluding HUB City funding from the Local Contribution calculations in the Foundation Aid formula if the funds are committed to building construction or debt service payments.

G.  The NDCEL supports the continuation of a system of funding school transportation that is separate from the Foundation Aid program.  The NDCEL further supports an increase in the appropriation to fund increases to the current mileage and ridership rates.

H.  The NDCEL supports a change to the Foundation Aid formula to support equity for all districts by paying a school district on the basis of the greater number of Weighted Student Units generated by:
      (1)     The three-year average of PK-12 Average Daily Membership or
      (2)     The PK-12 Spring ADM; or
      (3)     Current year fall PK-12 enrollment.
      In addition, NDCEL supports additional funding to support on-time payments to schools.

I.    The NDCEL opposes any proposal to limit the general taxing authority of school districts.

J.    The NDCEL supports a consolidated tax notice to be sent out by the county eliminating the need to publish zero mill increases in the local paper or send out individual entity notices. 

K.  The NDCEL supports local control of district ending fund balances. However, current law indicates that an ending balance of less than “35% plus $20,000” shall be in place by July 1, 2017.  Any amount less than the amount in law would be opposed.

L.   The NDCEL opposes deductions of more than 60 mills.

M.  The NDCEL supports removing caps on general fund levies.

N.  The NDCEL supports the funding of the 2017-19 REAs at a level sufficient to fund delivery of current core support services, additional services needed regionally and/or statewide, and meeting staffing capacity needs, and that it be included as a part of the state budget and not funded from the contingency fund.

REFORM ISSUES:
A.  The NDCEL supports using AdvancEd as our accreditation process. The NDCEL further supports measures to reduce reporting requirements whenever possible.

B.   The NDCEL supports student assessments that are locally determined and delivered relative to timing, frequency, and quantity of assessments with a focus on formative and summative assessments that inform instruction and enhance student growth.

C.   The NDCEL supports high quality schools. High quality schools include but are not limited to the following characteristics:
      (1)  Locally driven with a plan for school improvement in a community interested in collaboration for children;
      (2)  Educators should be role models, focused on teaching and learning in current research and instructional methods aligning instruction to the best evidence-based practice in the area of standards, curriculum and instruction.
      (3)  Students should be prepared under the auspices of “redefining ready” where students are college ready, career ready, and life ready and where students are driven by ideas and innovations.
      (4)  School districts’ missions, goals, and objectives should be in line with all aspects of decision making.

D.  The NDCEL opposes using any economic rewards or sanctions that are based on ranking of schools or performance.

E.   The NDCEL opposes any legislative mandates regarding how schools should achieve outcomes.  The “how to” is best left to the professionals in the school system.

F.   The NDCEL opposes public funding of non-public or charter schools including but not limited to mechanisms as vouchers, tax credits, tax-free savings accounts, etc.

G.  The NDCEL opposes online, home schools, or private schools that are not approved by NDDPI and are not taught by licensed teachers and opposes any local, state, or federal financial incentives for supporting non-public schools.

H.  The NDCEL supports locally driven decision-making on all curriculum provided in district professional development.

I.    The NDCEL supports an ESPB board that is equally balanced between teachers, administrators and school board members.

J.    The NDCEL supports increasing accountability requirements on home education students to ensure that all students succeed.

ADMINISTRATIVE CREDENTIALS:
A.  The NDCEL supports the current rules for administrative credentials. The NDCEL supports the creation of an “Administrative Standards and Practices Board” for the purpose of setting and reviewing standards for training and credentialing of school administrators.

B.   The NDCEL supports studying and pursuing appropriate modalities to help deal with teacher and administrator shortages.

RETIREMENT:
A.  The NDCEL supports the current defined benefit plan used by TFFR as opposed to any defined contribution or hybrid plan.

B.   The NDCEL supports actions to ensure a self-fund ratio of at least 90% by 2039 so long as it does not increase the employer/employee contribution level or reduce benefits. 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: 
A.  The NDCEL supports increased funding for the ND LEAD Center to support administrator mentoring. The NDCEL opposes reductions in funding to the Teacher Support Program and believes at minimum their funding should remain stable at $2.7 million dollars for the 17-19 biennium. 

 SCHOOL CALENDAR/YEAR/DAY
A.  The NDCEL supports local school board authority to establish the school calendar, school year, and school day. In the interest of student safety schools should be able to start school two hours late or dismiss school two hours early without loss of a student contact day. 

OTHER
A.  The NDCEL supports a comprehensive system to support the physical, behavioral and mental health needs of elementary and secondary school students, including funding for appropriate school nurses,  school health personnel, and school staff, as well as funding or incentives that develop and foster community-based programs and facilities to meet these needs.

B.   The NDCEL supports authorizing and funding of developmentally appropriate public school early education programs for 3-5 year old children.

C.   The NDCEL supports legislation that requires compulsory school attendance of enrolled students.

D.  The NDCEL supports having 2 days in October held for No-School for the purpose of the NDCEL administrator conference and any other conference held on those days for all teachers or all administrators. 

E.  The NDCEL opposes any law that eliminates a school’s ability to utilize their evidence based training for seclusion or restraint. 

F.  The NDCEL supports the utilization of local board policy and procedures in the area of Seclusion and Restraint. 

G.  NDCEL supports innovative ways to approach behavioral and mental health issues in our schools and communities.  State funded pilot grants could begin the process of leveraging the knowledge of both educators and health professionals to create systems of support.  Additionally, this pilot grant concept supports collaboration between school districts and inherently recognizes the difference in demographics across ND.  The intention is to create a stronger, comprehensive and systematic approach to behavioral health across the Continuum of Care.  In addition to the community partnerships, educational programming, the development of an early identification system of students at-risk, and the capacity building of other key staff members, are the mechanisms intended to facilitate the shift from reactive systems to proactive systems. The bottom line for school districts is that in order to ensure school safety, they need to seek balance between promotion, prevention, treatment and recovery by investing more resources into their students’ well-being. Students who are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy will be greater contributors to society, not just during their educational career, but throughout their lives. 

H.  The NDCEL opposes the use of the foundation aid stabilization fund or any other K12 Public education fund to be utilized for higher education in the form of scholarships, loan forgiveness, or capital projects. 

I.    The NDCEL supports proposed bill language which states: “Each public and nonpublic school must conduct no less than eight safety-related drills per school year.  Schools must complete at least one of each of the following types of drills annually:  lockdown, shelter-in-place, fire evacuation and severe weather.  Schools shall internally document the date and time of such drills. 

J.    The NDCEL supports a rule that allows schools to stock EpiPens to be used for the safety and health of students, staff, or public. 

K.   The NDCEL supports 15.1-15-01. Performance reviews - Written reports.

SECTION 1a. AMENDMENT.  Subsection 1a. of section 15.1-15.01 of the North Dakota Century Code is amended and reenacted as follows:

  1. a. The school district shall conduct two performance reviews of each individual employed as a teacher, a principal, or as an assistant or associate superintendent during each of the first three years an individual holds such a position. The school district shall prepare written reports of the individual's performance. The school district shall make the first yearly report available to the individual on or before December fifteenth. The school district shall make the second yearly report available to the individual on or before May first, unless said individual is progressing toward a non-renewal.  In the instance of potential non-renewal, the evaluation must take place by March fifteenth. 
  1. b. If an individual begins employment as a teacher, a principal, or as an assistant or associate superintendent after January first, the school district shall conduct one review of the individual's performance. The school district shall make the written report available to the individual on or before May first, unless said individual is progressing toward a non-renewal.  In the instance of potential non-renewal, the evaluation must take place by March fifteenth. 

           Beginning with the fourth year of an individual's employment as a teacher, a principal, or as an assistant or associate superintendent, the school district shall conduct at least one review of the individual's performance each year. The school district shall prepare a written report of the individual's performance and make the report available to the individual on or before May first, unless said individual is progressing toward a non-renewal.  In the instance of potential non-renewal, the evaluation must take place by March fifteenth.   

L.   The NDCEL supports the continuation of schools being gun free zones; with the exception of equipment carried by authorized law enforcement officers.