Legislators making progress to on-time school funding

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BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota schools are paid based off of the previous year’s enrollment numbers. It works when the population change is stagnant. The past decade hasn’t been slow and even growth for many school districts. That’s why the legislature is looking at a system to move to on-time funding for growing districts while keeping the one-year lag funding for shrinking ones.

If a school has 400 kids one year and increases to 500 the next, right now they're paid for 400. Under the new proposal, starting in the 2020-2021 school year, they'll be paid for half the increase, meaning 450 students using the previous example. That will work its way up in a few more years to the full increase.

Let's say a district starts at 400 and goes down to 375? For one year, they'll be paid at 400.

“The perfect world for the school districts is to do an either or situation which is what this bill does. If you're declining, you get to stay with your old. If you're growing, you get to do the on time,” said Rep. Mark Owens, R-Grand Forks.

The group of senators and reps working on the bill haven't finished it yet, but they're expected to soon.