Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Teacher raise plan out of bill

BISMARCK -- The latest attempt to make sure teachers receive most of the "new" money appropriated to public schools lost in the House Wednesday. The main education funding bill is now on its way to a conference committee with no reference to teac...

BISMARCK -- The latest attempt to make sure teachers receive most of the "new" money appropriated to public schools lost in the House Wednesday.

The main education funding bill is now on its way to a conference committee with no reference to teacher raises, though it does dictate minimum salaries.

The House passed Senate Bill 2154 66-26 Wednesday after rejecting amendments from Rep. Pam Gulleson, D-Rutland, and other Democrats who wanted mandated teacher raises in the bill.

Democratic amendments would have devoted 70 percent of state payment increases to school districts to teacher raises. It would have continued efforts begun in the 2001 Legislature to raise teachers' salaries.

Democratic amendments also would have wiped out a mill levy deduction formula aimed at evening disparate property taxes in different districts.

ADVERTISEMENT

The so-called "mill levy deduct" subtracts some property tax revenue from schools and redistributes it statewide. It is now 32 mills, would rise to 34 mills the next school year and 36 the following year under the House plan.

Gulleson and other Democrats said it should stay at 32 mills. Otherwise, 130 of 210 districts will lose money in the next two years, they said.

But Republicans said the amendments would risk the state losing a pending lawsuit over fairness in state school funding.

The mill levy deduction formula is at the heart of efforts to equalize school funding, said House Majority Leader Rick Berg, R-Fargo. Progressive increases in the formula are the only way to stave off a lawsuit, he and others argued.

"If we do nothing, then we're turning it over to the courts. And if we turn it over to the courts, the courts are going to take a whole different view," he said. "They're not going to listen to the rhetoric, they're going to look to see if there is fairness in taxation, fairness in property value behind every student, and they'll take action to address that."

The House bill also changes busing payments, making it a block grant program instead of a complicated formula that legislators say districts go to great lengths to manipulate for maximum payments.

Gulleson's proposed amendment would have scrapped the block grant plan.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830

What To Read Next
Host Bryan Piatt is joined by Matt Entz, head coach of the North Dakota State Bison football team, to discuss the pressures of leading the program and how mental health is addressed with his players.
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack lists the various reason why some older adults may begin to shuffle as they age.
The Buffalo Bills safety who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January is urging people to learn how to save lives the way his was saved.