North Dakota schools receive funding dependent on their number of students. Attendance has varied due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily News asks, is there consideration for specific funding to aid the schools during the uncertainty?

North Dakota Governor’s Office

The office of Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., cited the state emergency commission’s reallocation of over $220 million in federal funding for COVID-19 relief.

Under the reallocation approved Monday, Nov. 9, K-12 school districts will receive nearly $34 million, on top of the $30 million previously allocated, the office stated. The $64 million will be paid out directly to school districts utilizing a base payment amount and a per pupil distribution.

“This federal funding is being reallocated in a way that positive impacts North Dakota citizens, schools, hospitals, businesses and all levels of state and local government,” Burgum said.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

Last month, State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced $33.8 million in new aid for North Dakota schools. The money may be spent on mental health support, technology, building ventilation improvements and other needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “resiliency grants” are the latest amounts of a school pandemic aid package that DPI said has totaled almost $94 million to date. It includes $30.1 million that was distributed to schools in April, another $30 million endorsed by North Dakota lawmakers in September and the recent approval of the $33.8 million in school assistance.

“The $94 million provided to schools by the state provides much-needed money for our teachers, and into the classrooms, where it can do the most good,” Baesler said.

North Dakota Legislature

Rep. Cindy Schreiber-Beck, R-District 25, also singled out the $30 million in newly allocated funding and gave a clear explanation of the standard funding formula.

“If the student is enrolled in the district, the per pupil amount would be received,” she said. “The district is still providing services even though the student may not be in the building. This is similar to the service given to a student who is recovering from an accident or illness, or who can’t be in a school building due to the extent of his or her illness.”

Schreiber Beck recommends residents get familiar with their districts to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyday operations.

“My thanks go out to all the staff in the districts for providing the best services possible for the students, as they always do,” she said.

Wahpeton Public Schools regularly meets each month at Wahpeton High School. For more information, visit www.wahpetonschools.org.

North Dakota’s 67th Legislative Assembly will begin Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. That same day, Gov. Burgum will give his State of the State Address.

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