NDCEL Positions and Belief Statements for 2012-2014

Adopted October 17, 2012

 
 

1.     FINANCE

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

 

        B.    In order to improve equity and adequacy of school funding in North Dakota, the NDCEL supports legislation that provides equity and adequacy in per pupil payments over the coming biennia. In addition, the NDCEL supports funding this formula with provisions for increased costs of educating children that will:

               (1)     Annually provide for 70 percent funding of the cost of education as defined by current law.

               (2)     Remove tax levy caps and other restrictions on school district levies.

               (3)     Support a total legislative appropriation of at least $100 million in for new foundation aid money to continue the cost of formula payments in excess of 2011-12 appropriation levels for the 2013-2014 biennium.

               (4)     Correlate the funding of high cost students more  by changing the current high cost risk pool for special education to an overall education cost risk pool.

               (5)     Support state reimbursement for costs over 1.0 times the cost of education for non-special needs student placements.

               (6)     Increase state’s share of special education funding from the current .079 to a weighting factor that more accurately reflects cost.

               (7)     Support state reimbursement for excess costs that more accurately reflects the highest (2%) of special needs cost students at three and one-half times the state average cost of education per student and that all related costs over that amount be reimbursed by the state

               (8)     Distribute remaining funds from the excess cost pool, each biennium, for high cost students on a per pupil basis.

       

        C.    The NDCEL supports the reestablishment of the Commission on Education which is comprised of representation as adopted by 2009 legislative assembly as a vehicle for recommending adequate funding and sound educational policy for adoption by the North Dakota State Legislature.

 

        D.    The NDCEL supports a transportation funding system, outside of the per pupil payment of $100 million (currently at $48.5 million), relating to actual operational costs, ridership and mileage driven with a commitment to increased efficiency.  Increases for rates paid per mile should be commensurate with increases, as a percentage of cost, in state mileage rates made by the state legislature as of 2011.

 

        E.    The NDCEL opposes public funding of charter, private, parochial, or home schools through such mechanisms as state funded per pupil payments, vouchers, tax credits, tax-free savings accounts, etc.

 

        F.     Taxation:

               (1)     The NDCEL supports a tax system that provides for a balanced mix of sales tax, income tax, energy tax, and property tax to adequately fund K-12 education resulting in a 70 percent funding of the statutory cost of education from the state and 30 percent from local sources which will meet the challenges of universal proficiency and provide a stable funding base for a system focused on proficiency.

               (2)     The NDCEL supports property tax relief legislation that assumes 70 percent state funding of the cost of education and is based on an adequacy model, provided it does not reduce the money budgeted for K-12 education for the coming biennium, does not eliminate the collection and local control of property tax by legislative action, or supplant state general fund K-12 monies with Common School Schools Trust Fund money to accomplish property tax relief.

               (3)     The NDCEL opposes any legislation or initiated measure which would restrict the number of tax dollars from going into the general fund­, would limit a school district from capitalizing on any property valuation increase, or would eliminate property tax as a locally controlled source of revenue.

               (4)     The NDCEL supports a simple majority vote to pass mill levy increases and bond issues.

               (5)     The NDCEL supports allowing school boards to establish levies of up to 10 mills for technology by a simple majority vote of the Board.

               (6)     The NDCEL supports a 20 mill-building fund established by a simple majority vote of the school board.

               (7)     The NDCEL supports placing 90 percent of the Tobacco Settlement money into the Common Schools Trust Fund and 10 percent to the Health Department.

               (8)     The NDCEL supports allowing school boards to vote on all city and county tax abatement.

               (9)     The NDCEL opposes any attempt to prohibit school districts from purchasing or leasing land for the purposes of providing playgrounds, recreation centers, or other character-building purposes and community centers , lands or buildings, or both that is for the common good of the community.

               (10)    The NDCEL opposes any attempt to prohibit school districts from entering into Joint Power Agreements with park districts or municipalities for the purchasing or leasing land for the purposes of providing playgrounds, recreation centers, or other character-building purposes and community centers, lands or buildings, or both for the common good of the community.

               (11)    The NDCEL opposes any effort to require school districts to pay back or credit taxpayers’ money they currently hold in their unobligated Ending Fund Balance (EFB).                           

 

        G.    The NDCEL supports continued state funding for the Educational Technology Council and the statewide network.        

 

        H.    The NDCEL supports legislation for incentives such as “signing bonuses,” “housing,” paying off the salary schedule, to attract and retain certified personnel.

 

        I.      NDCEL recognizes the positive impact that career and technical education has on students and the state’s economy.  Therefore NDCEL supports state funding for career and technical education which provides adequate and equitable programming to all students across the state.

 

        J.     The NDCEL supports the funding of the 2013-15 REAs at a level sufficient to fund delivery of new core offerings, additional services needed regionally, and meeting staffing needs and that it be included as a part of the state budget and not funded from the contingency fund.  

 

        K.    The NDCEL supports funding for the establishment of a deferred maintenance and physical plant improvement grants program by appropriating at least $10 million for grants in the coming biennium should general fund revenues exceed a $35 million surplus by the end of the first year of the coming biennium. The NDCEL encourages the legislature to consider funding future school construction projects through a district/state cost sharing formula.

 

        L.    The NDCEL supports development of a funding formula that will pay for a greater share of the cost of K-12 education by the state based on the funding recommendations of the 2006 Picus report (pro-rated for inflation) which will:

               (1)     Reduce the amount of local contribution from local property taxes;

               (2)     Provide for districts to levy a set number of maximum mills (cap) by a majority vote of their board;

               (3)     Allow districts to increase mill levies above any set mill cap by a simple majority vote of the electorate;

               (4)     Ensure that no school district will receive less per student;

               (5)     Allow school districts to access additional funding in future years;

               (6)     Provide per student funding based on the greater of fall enrollment or the preceding year’s ADM;

               (7)     Allow school boards to increase the amount in dollars which the school district levied for the prior school year by 18 percent up to a general fund levy of 185 mills on the taxable valuation of the district.

 

        M.    The NDCEL opposes any initiated measure that would restrict or eliminate property taxes for school districts and municipalities.

 

        N.    The NDCEL supports raising the bid limit for capital projects to $750,000 when nationally bid contracts are used provided a licensed architect or engineer is used as project manager.

 

2.     REFORM

        A.    The NDCEL supports a combined system of school approval and accreditation based on a state funded school improvement model such as AdvancEd that includes the development of areas of learning, educational core curriculum standards, environmental and facilities standards, local implementation plans, and holds schools accountable for performance.  This system of approval and accreditation standards should be related to a district’s mission, goals, and objectives.

 

        B.    The NDCEL supports state-federal-mandated assessments, however, these tests must:

               (1)     Allow results from multiple assessments and opportunities to retake assessments to be used in gauging school success.

               (2)     Allow ELL students to develop language proficiency as determined by a language proficiency assessment before using their scores in determining AYP.

               (3)     Employ a “growth” model to determine student progress/achievement from year to year (longitudinally) to allow the tracking of students and student sub-groups over time

               (4)     Not be administered to 12th grade students.

               (5)     Be useful to educators concerned about improving the instruction of children and allow educational agencies direct input into this process with a turn around time of four to six weeks.

               (6)     Be fully funded including research required for the development of the assessment and the technology necessary for the administration of the assessment by the state and federal agencies.

               (7)     Not support any state mandated assessment above and beyond federal requirements unless the assessment is tied to scholarship eligibility for students such as the ACT/WorkKeys.

               (8)     Be electronic assessments such as the NWEA MAP.

 

        C.    The NDCEL supports quality schools, which are defined as locally driven with a plan for school improvement.  Locally derived performance and common core standards should be a part of the curriculum, and they should be related to a district’s mission, goals, and objectives. Schools should:

               (1)     Provide educators who are role models who are trained and current in research and instructional methods.

               (2)     Be supported financially and emotionally by a community interested in collaboration for children.

               (3)     Be focused on teaching and learning.

 

        D.    The NDCEL supports quality schools, which are defined as locally driven with a plan for school improvement.  Locally derived performance and common core standards should be a part of the curriculum and they should be related to a district’s mission, goals, and objectives. 

               (1)     A school should be linked to a School Improvement Planning process via AdvancEd-NCA or the Department of Public Instruction.

               (2)     Performance and Core Content Standards should serve as guides within the improvement process.  Local schools shall retain the right to select and approve local curriculum.

               (3)     Locally selected curriculum should be adopted based on a district’s mission, goals, and objectives.

               (4)     There shall be high standards for all students that are aligned to curriculum and instruction and in conjunction with assessments to measure and reward academic progress.

 

         E.   The NDCEL supports quality schools, which are defined as an “educational experience” which attempts to provide activities designed to further the progress of the whole student in relation to his/her needs, abilities, interests, and achievement.  The high school education offering should include:

(1)     4 units of Language Arts (English) that includes literature, composition, and speech;

(2)     4 units of Mathematics including 1 unit of algebra II and one unit for which algebra II
         is a prerequisite;

(3)     4 units of Lab Science including 1 unit of physical science, 1 unit of biology;

(4)     4 units of Social Studies including 1 unit of world history, and 1 unit of problems of
         democracy or ½ unit of United States government and ½ unit of economics;

(5)     ½ unit Health Credit;

(6)     ½ unit (courses) of Physical Education during each year that includes at least once 
         every four years a concept based fitness class that includes instruction in the 
         assessment, improvement, and maintenance of personal fitness;

(7)     2 units of fine arts, at least 1 of which must be music;   

(8)     2 units of the same foreign or Native American language;

(9)     1 unit of advanced placement or dual credit courses;

(10)    2 units career and technical education from a coordinated plan of study recommended by
          the CTE department and approved by the superintendent of public instruction;

(11)    Make available once every 2 years ½ unit of ND studies with an emphasis on geography, history, and agriculture.

       

        F.    The NDCEL supports a rigorous and adequately funded standards based curriculum which ensures North Dakota students are educated in an innovative, relevant, integrated and challenging system which prepares them as good citizens and take full advantage of employment opportunities.

        

        G.    The NDCEL supports quality schools, which are defined as performance and content standards in North Dakota:

               (1)     A school should be linked to a School Improvement Planning process via AdvanceED-NCA or the Department of Public Instruction.

               (2)     Performance and Content Standards should serve as guides within the improvement process.  Local schools shall retain the right to select and approve local curriculum.

               (3)     Locally selected curriculum should be adopted based on a district’s mission, goals, and objectives.

               (4)     There shall be high standards for all students, which are aligned to curriculum and instruction and in conjunction with assessments to measure and recognize academic progress.

       

        H.    The NDCEL opposes using economic sanctions, rewards, student transfers, vouchers, and ranking of schools based on performance to “punish” schools to become excellent.

 

        I.     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.

 

        J.     The NDCEL opposes home education or private schools that are not accredited by NDDPI and are not taught by licensed teachers.

 

        K.    The NDCEL supports legislation that requires students to remain in school until they acquire proficiencies required for graduation or until they reach an age of 18 provided that adequate funding is available for enforcement and the provision of adequate educational opportunities for non-matriculating students.

 

        L.    The NDCEL opposes any federal mandates that require the removal of principals or teachers as a part the “turnaround schools” requirement as outlined in the “BluePrint for Reform” for the reauthorization of ESEA or as a requirement for Title 1a school improvement grant (SIG) eligibility.

       

        M.   The NDCEL Supports the development of a state sponsored Teacher/Principal Evaluation system  charged with developing minimum statewide standards for a fair, thorough, consistent and efficient system for evaluating teacher and principal performance. This system should be based on a framework for a teacher and principal evaluation system from which individual school districts will implement fair, objective, reliable, valid and transparent evaluation processes.

 

3.     ADMINISTRATIVE CREDENTIALS

        A.   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 basing credential decisions on agreed-upon outcomes and not just inputs.

 

        B.    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 if attempts are made to change the current rules or move the process to the ESPB.

 

4.     RETIREMENT

        A.    The NDCEL supports the use of any “margin” in the TFFR funds to be used to increase benefits for members through the formula.  The NDCEL supports a pre-funded health insurance program using state funds and not the margin of the Fund.

 

        B.    The NDCEL supports pension portability and license reciprocity to encourage the free flow of professional leadership. 

 

        C.    The NDCEL supports the current defined benefit plan used by TFFR and is opposed to any defined or hybrid contribution plan. 

 

        D.    The NDCEL supports allowing retired members of TFFR to return to work at full salary with full benefits as long as contributions and assessments are paid to TFFR.

 

        E.    The NDCEL supports insuring TFFR’s funding level and overall financial health without impairing legally protected contractual obligations by allowing school districts, for purposes of determining minimum salary, to include the employee’s half of TFFR in the determination of minimum salary for school districts paying both sides of TFFR.  

 

        F.    The NDCEL supports actions to ensure a self-fund ratio of at least 90 percent by 2039.

 

5.     PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

        A.    The NDCEL supports increased funding for ND LEAD and Teacher Centers so that appropriate professional development activities can be provided to administrators.

               

        B.    The NDCEL supports development of local professional development programs for teachers and administrators, with a minimum of four days appropriately funded.

 

6.     SCHOOL CALENDAR/YEAR/DAY:

        A.    The NDCEL supports local school boards maintaining the authority to establish the school calendar, school year, and school day and an increase in the state appropriation for foundation aid that will allow funding of at least 70 percent to provide for a minimum school term of 185 days. 

 

        B.    The school calendar must include a minimum of 175 days for instruction, 3 days for holidays, 2 days for parent-teacher conferences, and 5 days for professional development activities. If there is a mandated after Labor Day school start the requirement must also be imposed on all educational institutions including higher ed.  

 

        C.    The NDCEL believes that the minimum school day should be 6 clock hours for high school students and 6 hours for elementary students.

 

        D.    The NDCEL supports the banking of hours for staff development days reported to DPI as a part of the calendar report rather than requested from DPI. 

 

        E.    The NDCEL supports having extended, compensated days for staff development which are a part of the school calendar.

       

7.     OTHER

        A.    The NDCEL supports:

                (1)    A weighting factor in the funding formula for a voluntary Pre-K (4-5 year old children) program;

                (2)    Authorizing the flexibility for local school districts to fund pre-school (3-5 year old children) programs from local, state, and federal funds.

 

        B.    The NDCEL supports expanding and funding at the same foundation (ADM) rate as alternative high school students for an alternative school or alternative school day treatment programs at the elementary, middle, and high school level.  Middle school alternative students are defined as 13-14 and 15-year students.

       

        C.    The NDCEL supports legislation that would fund PowerSchool as the student data base and uses the ndSLED longitudinal data system to collect all data related to student and school reporting requirements.

       

        D.    The NDCEL supports legislation that would provide for the future sustainability of the state scholarship fund but that it not be funded from the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund or the Common Schools Trust Fund.

 

        E.    The NDCEL supports the signing on of the State of North Dakota to participate in the review of common core standards and assessments.

 

        F.     NDCEL supports legislation that requires mandatory school attendance upon enrollment in a K-12 system.

              

        G.    The NDCEL supports the use of state general funds to fund school nurse programs and school resource officers (SROs).