Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota superintendent of public instruction, released a statement Wednesday about Gov. Burgum’s budget recommendations that relate to K-12 public education.
Governor Burgum’s budget recommendations continue his tradition of support for public education. It proposes increases of 4 percent and 3 percent in per-student state aid payments for the two years of the 2023-25 budget.
The current per-student payment is $10,237. The governor proposes to raise that to $10,646 during the 2023-24 school year, and to $10,965 for the 2024-25 school year.
The governor’s budget also provides per-student state aid to schools in the same year those students are enrolled.
This is important because now, most state aid per student comes a year late. For example, under the present system, a school district that has an enrollment increase of 200 students does not receive aid for those students until the following school year.
Under the governor’s proposal, that state aid is provided during the year the students enroll. This is fair because our schools cannot delay paying added costs to educate additional students. The governor’s proposal will relieve financial pressure on our schools and help keep property taxes down.
I am excited that the governor’s recommendations include $1 million in added funding, for a total of $4 million, for our “grow your own” teacher program, which provides incentives for education paraprofessionals to become licensed as full-fledged teachers.
The governor is also recommending $2.1 million for the Education Standards and Practices Board for a teacher mentorship program. The ESPB is an independent agency that licenses our North Dakota teachers. Both of these proposals will help to ease our North Dakota teacher shortage.
I and the NDDPI team look forward to working with our legislators as the budget takes shape in the coming months. We already have had a number of inquiries from legislators about education policy ideas, and we look forward to a busy and productive session that strengthens the public education system that is so important to our students and families.