Will the state be able to fund education needs? State senator says 'yes' if oil prices hold

Published: Nov. 15, 2018 at 8:38 PM CST
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Legislators want to increase K through 12 funding, create a statewide vision, expand career and tech programs for the workforce, and more. But will they have the money to do it?

There's a bipartisan call for working together to increase K12 funding, and in return use the schools to help with the state's workforce shortage.

"Those local programs just need to be expanded to give access to more kids,” said Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck.

"Getting people and recruiting people from other areas of the country is getting tougher and tougher. So let's home grow them,” said Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson.

Senate majority leader Rich Wardner says his area in Dickinson has seen rapid growth in schools, with a new elementary school opening this year. But education money only flows with oil.

"If the price of oil stays at around $60 a barrel, we will be able to meet some of these needs,” said Wardner.

Predicting that is never an easy task, and Oban says North Dakota can't afford to fall short.

"Whatever we aren't picking up at the state level that we committed to funding for K12 education is going to be put on property tax payers,” said Oban.

These challenges are just a few lawmakers looking at education bills. Rep. Bernie Satrom, R-Jamestown, says he's looking at alternative certifications for teachers. Sen. Scott Meyer, R-Grand Forks, wants reciprocity of teaching licenses to apply to military spouses.

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