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North Dakota

This is archived information. Please see the new website for updated information.

North Dakota MEA

NDMEA advocacy webpage:

President:  Sara Hagen (
Executive Director:  Denese Odegaard (
Government Relations (contact):  Denese Odegaard (

North Dakota Hill Visits

MEW 2011 Hill visit

  • Visited with Senator Hoeven and Representatives Berg and Conrad .
  • Only saw the aides but they were all products of great music programs and totally understood the conversation.
  • “Best part was having one of my old students give us a tour as an intern and then I met with another student of mine who is an aide.”
  • “We left the handouts, the book called This is Your Brain on Music and a CD of a composition by our state president’s daughter who is an amazing composer in Minnesota.”


North Dakota Department of Public Instruction






MEA Contact Call

North Dakota— Denese Odegaard (who is also North Central Division President said the MEA is working to ensure that K-8 music classes are taught by highly-qualified music educators. Currently classroom teachers are able to teach music. She said the economy is stable there and music programs receive enthusiastic support from school officials as well as parents. She would like a quick way to keep updated lists of member e-mails. She likes Groundswell and thinks what is posted there is “awesome” and she refers members to the site frequently.

Political Landscape

Governor:  Jack Dalrymple (R) – replaced John Hoeven when Hoeven resigned to join the U.S. Senate
State Senate:  Republicans 35 – Democrats 12 (GOP picked up 9 seats in 2010 election)
State House:  Republicans 69 – Democrats 25 (GOP picked up 11 seats in 2010 election)

U.S. Senate: Republicans 1 – Democrats 1
U.S. House of Representatives:  Republicans 1 – Democrats 0

Hot Topics

  • Unqualified teachers (classroom) teaching music
  • No funding issues – stable economy


Articles & Sites of Interest

N.D. Senate approves $645 million higher education budget (Minot Daily News/AP- April 13, 2011)
State senators approved a two-year budget for North Dakota’s public colleges on Tuesday, endorsing a 9 percent increase for the next two years and laying the groundwork for negotiations with House members who want to spend less. North Dakota’s Senate voted 40-7 to approve the $645 million budget. It has two major expenditures that were rejected by the House – $6.6 million in tuition subsidies and $10 million in so-called “equity” money for colleges. The tuition aid would freeze tuition at the state’s two-year colleges and limit increases at four-year colleges to 2.5 percent each year. The equity money helps colleges that get less state support than similar schools in other states, said Sen. Raymon Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Holmberg called the budget a reasonable compromise between those who want to invest more in higher education and those who think spending has spun out of control. He compared the Senate’s preferred spending plan to Goldilocks’ third bowl of porridge, calling it “the correct and balanced approach.”


Senate passes K-12 education bill (Area Voices blog – April 26, 2011)
Changes to the state scholarship program, the expansion of Gearing Up for Kindergarten and alternative middle school grants are included in the final version of the K-12 education bill. The North Dakota Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 2150 on Tuesday. The bill will now go to the House. Legislators provided $300,000 for alternative middle school grants for school districts that offer programs for students in grades six through eight. The bill also puts the teacher support program into state law and directs the Education Standards and Practices Board to establish and administer the program. The board may use money for the program to provide staff compensation, training, evaluation, and stipends for mentors and experienced teachers who assist first-year and other teachers participating in the program. The bill requires each school district to provide seventh or eighth grade students with an individual consultative process or a nine-week course to discuss the results of their career interest inventory. This includes discussing high school courses and developing individual high school education plans. The per student base payment rate is set at $3,910 for the first year of the biennium and $3,980 for the second year.

Governor signs Education bill (Valley News Live – KVLY/KXJB [Fargo/Grand Forks] – May 10)
Gov. Jack Dalrymple was in Fargo today to sign into law Senate Bill 2150, legislation that continues the state’s commitment to funding K-12 education and ensuring equitable and adequate funding for all school districts. The bill allocates $997 million in state funding for K-12 schools, an increase of $102.5 million over the current biennium. Senate Bill 2150 includes the final recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Education Improvement, providing funding aimed at improving the quality of instruction in North Dakota’s schools. Of the increased funding, $54.3 million will address adequacy in school districts across the state, ensuring that all students receive the resources they need to succeed. The legislation increases per-student payments, and includes additional funding for scholarships, career counseling, mentorship programs and the Gearing Up For Kindergarten program. Senate Bill 2150 includes the following K-12 education measures and funding:

  • School districts will receive a per-student payment of $3,910 the first year of the biennium and per-student payment of $3,980 the second year. At least 70 percent of all new operating dollars are dedicated to teacher compensation.
  • A $5 million increase for transportation expenditures, raising the reimbursement rate for school bus transportation.
  • A continuing appropriation of $2.3 million for a mentorship program to select and train experienced teachers who will serve as mentors for first-year teachers.
  • $625,000 to expand the Gearing Up For Kindergarten program, a series of classes created to help parents prepare their four-year-old children for kindergarten. 
  • Enhanced career guidance to better prepare students for jobs and advanced education.