The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) administers state aid to schools as authorized by the state legislature, as well as other state and federal grant programs. States are instrumental in helping districts better understand how to use, braid, and blend funds appropriately for evidence-based programs and practices. NDDPI coordinates the analysis, forecasting, budgeting, data collection, reporting, and communication functions required to implement these programs. In January of 2024, ND released guidance called the Funding Your Plan: Best Practices to Sustain Investments. With the unprecedented investment of federal funding, many districts invested in the following key areas of pandemic recovery and beyond: educator recruitment, developing and supporting leaders, high-quality instructional materials, and integrated student supports. This guidance is all about sustaining investments and thinking strategically and innovatively about how funds are used. It includes resources, such as ideas on how to support various state-supported initiatives, worksheets to support braiding and blending funds, and helpful references. Technical assistance is also provided to legislators, school personnel and the general public pertaining to foundation aid, district organization, nonresident tuition, open enrollment, transportation, school construction, taxation, and other programmatic issues.


Capital Expenditures Guidance

Recipients of federal funds must get prior written approval before spending funds on capital expenditures. (2 CFR § 200.439(b)(1)). Capital expenditures include the funds an entity spends to buy, maintain, or improve its fixed assets, such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, or land.

Please note:

  • The standard threshold for getting prior approval is $5,000. Capital expenditures exceeding $5,000 must be justified as COVID-related and receive written prior approval.
  • Considerations regarding
    • Procurement – 2 CFR § 200.317-327
    • Construction – 34 CFR § 75.600-617
    • Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rules – 20 U.S. Code § 1232b
    • Uniform Grant Guidance Rules – 2 CFR § 200.310-316
      • Prior approval rules – 2 CFR § 200.439
      • Rules on real property – 2 CFR § 200.311
      • Rules on financing costs – 2 CFR § 200.449
    • EDGAR construction rules – 34 CFR § 76.660, 34 CFR §§ 75.600-75.617
    • Construction projects are also subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The NDDPI revised the form to obtain approval on capital expenses funded with ESSER dollars. 
  • Districts will also need to submit SFN 52304 (School Construction Approval Request) for any requests in excess of $150,000 to Adam Tescher.
  • The form can be submitted to Lisa Johnson.
  • This new process is effective March 4, 2021.

Information on Construction Designs:

School districts requesting to use ESSER funding for construction must request prior approval by submitting the “Capital Expenses – Prior Approval” form. Before construction is advertised or placed on the market for bidding, the grantee shall get the approval of the final working drawings and specifications using the guide below:

Final Working Drawings:

Architectural and engineering drawings consist of acceptable reproducible. These drawings provide information about various aspects of the construction of the building including architectural (floor plans, interior and exterior elevations, and sections), ornamental, structural, mechanical, electrical, and air-conditional details, as well as site and landscaping plans. This is probably the most important class of records since they provide not only detailed instructions for the erection of the building but also present a comprehensive and detailed picture of its design.

Project Specifications:

Guides for individual construction projects which outline material requirements and explain the materials and manufactured items depicted or related drawings.

Questions on this requirement can be directed to Jamie Mertz, Department of Public Instruction Fiscal Director, at (701) 328-2176.

Finance Facts Sections


  • Section A-  Summary of Facts
  • Section B-  Rank Order by Total Levy
  • Section C-  Mill Levy Summary
  • Section C-  Mill Levy Summary
  • Section D-  Fund Group 1 Revenue & Expenditures
  • Section E-  Statewide Fund Group 1 Expenditure by Function
  • Section F-  Fund Group 1 Expenditure by Function by District
  • Section G- Current Expenditures by Type of District
  • Section H- Expenditure Calculation of Average Cost/Pupil
  • Section I-   Fall Enrollment, Teacher FTE, and Salaries 
  • Section J-  State Aid Formula and Other Statistics 

The North Dakota open enrollment law establishes an application period whereby parents can apply to enroll their children in a district other than the district of residence.
If a school board decides to accept students under the provisions of open enrollment, it must establish policies for the acceptance or rejection of applications on the basis of the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school building.  The North Dakota School Boards Association will provide assistance regarding the establishment and revision of these policies.
The school board of a district may decide to not accept students from other districts under the provisions of open enrollment by formally adopting a motion indicating this intent. 
Application procedures and guidelines are further explained in the Open Enrollment application.