The North Dakota Senate on Tuesday killed an amendment to a bill that would have removed an appropriation for school districts experiencing rapid growth.
After the amendment to House Bill 1261 failed the Senate then voted 33-14 in favor of the bill which would provide $13.6 million for rapidly growing districts.
Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, introduced the amendment to HB1261. The bill would provide grants to a district with an increase of at least 20 new students. The increase, determined by districts’ annual Sept. 10 enrollment report, would have to be at least 4 percent.
The original bill passed the House with $17 million but was reduced to $13.6 million by the Senate Education Committee. Grindberg said in Senate Appropriations it had been amended by removing the dollars. The bill stated that rapid enrollment funds would instead be available in House Bill 1013, the Department of Public Instruction budget.
“We have been more than generous in funding K-12 education,” Grindberg said.
Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo, voiced opposition to the amendment.
“Rapid enrollment is fact of life in the West Fargo School District,” Lee said. “We need support in rapid enrollment.”
Lee read off enrollment numbers from the past several years in West Fargo showing that the district has grown by hundreds annually. She said West Fargo also approved an $82.5 million bond issue in 2011 for five new schools to address the growth.
Lee added that she would rather see the amendment killed and keep the funding in place than risk negotiating for less in a conference committee.
“This isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve been disappointed before,” Lee said.
After Lee spoke the amendment was killed. After a brief introduction of the full bill by Grindberg the Senate voted on the bill with the $13.6 million appropriation.
Sponsors of HB1261 are Reps. David Monson, R-Osnabrock, Pat Hatlestad, R-Williston, Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, David Rust, R-Tioga, Mark Sanford, R-Grand Forks, Mike Schatz, R-New England, Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, Alon Wieland, R-West Fargo, and Sens. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, and David O’Connell, D-Lansford.