News for District 31

Senator Don Schaible

With the second full week of the session completed things are picking up. Most committees have heard all the agency bills and most of the simple clean up language has been addressed in committee hearings.  Senate Education has over 30 bills on our agenda and yes quite a few have my finger prints all over them.

One bill I introduced  is Senate Bill 2052 is the school safety bill. This bill would allow school districts along with their community to develope a safety plan. A safety plan could include anything from cameras, metal detectors or other building improvements but could also be used to fund resource officers, psychiatrist or any other out of the box ideas to solve safety. That may sound strange to some, but safety concerns are very different in each of our districts and that why it is so important that the community is involved with a school’s safety plan.  After a plan is complete this bill would allow for a school district to assess 5 mill of property tax that could only be used to fund the safety plan. The school district would hold an election to get a simple majority of the people to approve the plan. Again, this money could only be spent on what is included in the plan.  This property tax mills would be good for 5 years and to continue would need a new plan and a new vote. 

This bill is not meant to be the total solution for school safety but another option for schools to use. Currently school have used a variety of ways of addressing safety needs by using general funds, building funds or in some cases share the cost with county or city.  It would be possible to also combine efforts with other school districts or an Regional Education Association to find the needs that best fit their community.

One point I would like make clears is that I am not an advocate for all of the safety needs to be address by property tax.  School funding is a combination of State and Local contributions with the state currently paying for about 75% of that cost.  I introduced this bill because I believe that school district need an additional tool to address individual school needs.  I also have been advocating for as much money as the state can afford going to our per pupil payment which helps every school and every student. 

I have had a few visitors already this session and would encourage anyone that would like to visit the capital or to sit with us on the floor to please let us know. We are always happy to hear your views and concerns.

Senator Don Schaible    dgschaible@nd.gov

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