2018-2020 Legislative Positions

NDCEL Positions and Belief Statements for 2018-2020
Adopted November 14, 2018
REPRESENTATION:

A. The NDCEL supports the continuation of the 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:

  1. The NDCEL opposes any legislation that creates mandates without full funding.
  2. 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.
  3. The NDCEL opposes any punitive measures that reduce or eliminate funding for school districts during the implementation period for any initiative.  (Initiatives may include any NDDPI, State, or Federally mandated initiative).
  4. 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.
  5. The NDCEL will advocate for changes to our current finance formula for any of the following areas that may be under consideration for adoption by the Legislative Assembly:
    1.   Increase to special education funding;
    2. Raise the weights of English Learner (EL) of Level II equal to Level I.
  6. The NDCEL supports substantial increases to the School Construction Loan fund to provide additional support for school buildings, not at the expense of adequate foundation aid funding.  NDCEL also supports increasing the current cap on school construction and supports the use of Legacy funds for school construction.
  7. The NDCEL supports adjustments to in-lieu of taxes to be distributed fair and equitably in terms of the foundation aid formula.
  8. The NDCEL supports the continuation of a system of funding school transportation that is separate from the Foundation Aid program.  The NDCEL further supports a substantial increase in the appropriation to fund increases to the current mileage and ridership rates, not at the expense of a per pupil increase.
  9. The NDCEL supports a change to the Foundation Aid formula to support our declining enrollment 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.
  10. The NDCEL opposes any proposal to further limit the general taxing authority of school districts.
  11. The NDCEL supports legislation explicitly allowing school districts to provide a tentative expenditure budget by August 15 of each year, with the authority to amend this budget up until October 10th.
  12. The NDCEL supports an increase to the Ending Fund Balance for school districts.
  13. The NDCEL supports on-time funding as a model to be adopted in our state for funding schools with a supporting model that cares for our declining enrollment districts whereby:
    1.  Schools shall be paid on the student count – spring or fall – whichever is greater.
    2.  NDCEL supports a fully funded approach to on-time funding (better of spring or fall).
    3.  If unable to implement a fully funded model, the NDCEL supports a phased-in approach whereby dollars to support this effort should be allocated evenly amongst districts based on a weighting factor with appropriate qualifiers in place.
  14. The NDCEL supports removing caps on general fund levies and opposes any additional caps on our current fund levies.
  15. The NDCEL opposes an attempt at on-time funding that:
    1.  Does not support declining enrollment schools (for example – full on time funding with no option of the better of spring/fall count)
    2.  Offers a phased in approach whereby certain schools are selected to go on-time rather than a balanced approach.
  16. The NDCEL supports a study of the weighting factors during the interim so long as there is involvement by NDCEL and the NDCEL Legislative Focus Group.
  17. The NDCEL supports a funding support mechanism whereby there would be an allocated sum of money to enable each local district to compensate teachers by enabling the district to pay teacher(s) for project work (in an extra duty agreement) outside of their regular contract.  These funds would not be available for the negotiated agreement with teachers.  Parameters yet to be established. These funds cannot be at the expense of the per-pupil payment.
  18. The NDCEL supports returning funds for the NDLEAD center with a targeted focus on administrator mentorship.
  19. The NDCEL supports the State Board of Higher Education to study and pursue a accreditation option for colleges, thereby allowing our current dual enrollment process in our schools to continue.
  20. The NDCEL supports an opportunity to access a safety levy by local school boards whereby additional mills could be gleaned to support behavioral and mental health needs.
  21. The NDCEL opposes a request for additional dollars to support GED/Adult Education.  Understanding we are all asking for $$ out of the same pool of dollars.

 REFORM ISSUES:

  1. The NDCEL supports the ongoing implementation of the North Dakota Standards or the best evidence-based standards in place.
  2. The NDCEL supports using an accreditation process for continuous school improvement. The NDCEL Further supports measure to reduce reporting requirements when possible.The NDCEL supports taking all named vendors out of Century Code/Administrative Rules.
  3. The NDCEL supports use of assessments that are useful to educators in improving student achievement. NDCEL does not support a federal-state assessment in 12th grade.  Further assessment choices should positively impact ability to appropriately implement standards. Any assessment choices should be focused on quality AND quantity –ensuring the least amount of time necessary as needed to implement the assessment.Further the NDCEL supports the flexibility to utilize an approved competency-based assessment rather than a standardized assessment.
  4. The NDCEL supports high quality schools that create students who are college, career and life ready as defined by research.
  5. The NDCEL opposes using any state economic rewards or sanctions and ranking of schools based on performance.
  6. 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.
  7. The NDCEL opposes public funding of non-public schools including home schooling through such mechanisms as vouchers, tax credits, tax-free savings accounts, etc.
  8. The NDCEL opposes online, home schools, or private schools that are not accredited by NDDPI and are not taught by licensed teachers and opposes any local, state, or federal financial incentives for supporting non-public schools.
  9. The NDCEL supports quality schools which are defined as an “educational experience” which provides activities designed to further the progress of the whole student in relation to his/her needs, abilities, interests, and achievement.  The high schools should make available to each student: 
    1.    4 units (courses) of Language Arts (English);
    2.   3 units (courses) of Social Studies;
    3.  3 units (courses) of Mathematics;
    4.   3 units (courses) of Lab Science;
    5.  1 unit (courses) of Physical Education and Health Credit (½ unit of each);
    6.   3 units (courses) of the arts, foreign/native languages, or courses in CTE;
    7.  5 units (courses) of electives in other enrichments according to the interests of the student.
  10. The NDCEL supports the study of additional options focused on personalized pathways to graduation.
  11. The NDCEL supports an ESPB board that is equally balanced between teachers, administrators and school board members.
ADMINISTRATIVE CREDENTIALS:
  1. The NDCEL supports the current rules for administrative credentials provided it allows state programs in educational leadership to allow required course preparations which are K-12 in content (curriculum, school administration, etc.) and can be taught in any sequence order as long it is an approved program of study.The NDCEL also supports the alignment of administrative credentials with the teacher licensing by ESPB (k-8 & 5-12).
  2. The NDCEL supports the shifting of all credentialing and licensing to the ESPB board. When referring to the administrator credential, we support this shift so long as the ESPB would use a committee of administrators including representatives from NDCEL, NDLEAD and Higher ed. to make any adjustments to the process by which administrators are able to receive their credential. 
  3. The NDCEL supports studying and implementing creative modalities to help deal with teacher shortages such as alternative/accelerated credentialing process from degreed professionals in other fields with mandatory mentoring.
  4. The NDCEL supports assigned administrator peer mentorship for any new administrators working under a provisional credential.

 RETIREMENT:

  1. The NDCEL supports the current defined benefit plan used by TFFR. Also, the NDCEL is opposed to any defined or hybrid contribution plan.
  2. 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:

  1. The NDCEL opposes reduction in funding to the Teacher Support Program and believes at minimum their funding should remain stable for the 19-21 biennium.

 SCHOOL CALENDAR/YEAR/DAY:

  1. The NDCEL supports local school board authority to establish the school calendar, school year, and school day.
  2. The NDCEL supports a shift whereby the school calendar is no longer regulated by days, but instead is regulated by hours.  The NDCEL does not advocate for less student contact time, but rather a conversion of how that time is calculated thereby creating flexibility in the school calendar for local school district and school boards.  The school day would be counted in 30-minute increments.
  3. If the above would become law, the NDCEL would support the elimination of any language regarding weather related closure as schools would be expected to generate a calendar that would allow adequate time to provide for potential weather-related closure.Conversion example for suggested law: High school:    175 days x 6 hrs. of instruction per day = 1050 hours; Elementary school:  175 days x 5.5 hrs. of instruction per day = 962.50 hours
  4. The NDCEL believes that the minimum school year would be 1050 clock hours of student contact time for high school students and 962.5 hours of student contact time for elementary school students.
OTHER:
  1. The NDCEL supports a comprehensive solution, including funding, to provide school nurses or other school health personnel to meet the needs of students regarding their physical, mental and emotional health, so it does not take from the foundation aid funding.
  2. The NDCEL supports a comprehensive system to support the Behavioral and Mental Health needs of elementary and secondary school students, including funding for appropriate school staff, as well as funding or incentives that develop and foster community-based programs and facilities to meet these needs.
  3. The NDCEL supports authorizing and funding of developmentally appropriate early education programs for 3-5-year-old children.
  4. The NDCEL supports legislation that requires mandatory school attendance upon enrollment in a public school. 
  5. 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.
  6. The NDCEL opposes any law that eliminates a school’s ability to utilize their evidence-based training for seclusion or restraint.
  7. The NDCEL supports the utilization of local board policy and/or procedures in the area of Seclusion and Restraint.
  8. The NDCEL is opposed the use of the foundation aid stabilization fund or any other K12 Public education fund to be utilized for higher education.
  9. The NDCEL supports a rule that allows schools to stock EpiPens to be used for the safety and health of students.
  10. The NDCEL supports the establishment of a K12 Education Coordination Council (essentially reestablish Gov’s Commission on education). This council would:
    1.  Promote communication, collaboration across all K12 entities in North Dakota.
    2.   Assess initiatives from state and local K12 stakeholders.
    3.  Analyze the current K12 system in North Dakota for bright spots, gaps, duplication, best practices, and areas for increased effectiveness and efficiency.
    4.  Make recommendations and advocate for continuous improvement.
  11. The NDCEL supports legislative action that would increase the amount of experience to 3 years in the same district to achieve teacher tenure.
  12. The NDCEL opposes any legislation that creates a separation between classroom and distance education teachers’ requirements for licensure.