Growth of the School District
A meeting was held with oil industry representatives to share with them the growth of the Williston Public School District for the 2012-13 school year. Our hope is to obtain financial help from the oil industry. In addition, I will be meeting with the Governor next week to discuss the same concerns of the rapid growth of student enrollment for the fall and seek solutions from him.
The current enrollment for the Williston Public School District at this time is 2650 students. Below is a list of the potential additional students expected for the fall of 2012.
POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL STUDENTS
Apartments (760 units completed by Fall 2012) = 300 students
Homes (405 homes completed by Fall 2012) = 600 students
Homeless (1000 additional campers by Fall 2012) = 300 students
TOTAL POTENTIAL NEW STUDENTS BY FALL 2012 = 1200 students
TOTAL STUDENT ENROLLMENT BY FALL 2012 = 3850 STUDENTS
At the next school board meeting, the school board will be considering selling bonds with a portion of the oil and gas impact funds we receive from the state of North Dakota. This will provide us with 9.8 million dollars. We could probably build one elementary school with this funding. However, this is not enough to deal with the 1200 students who will be coming. I will continue to work, plan and problem solve for our future. I have requested a meeting with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to discuss our concerns.
ESEA Flexibility Waiver
It is still undecided whether or not North Dakota will choose to apply for an ESEA Flexibility Waiver in February 2012 or at a later date. The advisory group that the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) established to address this issue meets again in December to review the progress made on Principle III (Principal/Teacher Education Guidelines), as well as discuss the issue of submitting an application in February, 2012.
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has posted the applications for the ESEA flexibility requests for the 11 states that applied by the November 14, 2011 deadline. You can access them at www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility.
Super Committee Fails to Reach Agreement
Last week, the Super Committee announced that they were unable to reach a budget agreement which will mean automatic across the board cuts to many programs, including education, for fiscal year 2013 which will impact the 2013-2014 school year. In addition, there is a strong likelihood that we will also see cuts in education for the 2012-2013 school year. All school districts will need to prepare for further cuts in educational funding for the next two years.
On Friday, November 18, 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 Continuing Appropriations Act which funds the USDE through December 16, 2011. The Act maintains the 1.5 percent across the board cut for several fiscal year 2011 federally funded programs. These cuts were released to districts on October 20, 2011. There are no new cuts at this time.
North Dakota State Influenza Report
As of December 5th, 2011, there are only 6 reported / lab identified influenza cases. School absenteeism has not yet been affected with 0.53% absenteeism. There have been zero hospitalizations and no deaths due to influenza reported. The most recent data can be found at North Dakota Surveillance Report.