(KXNET) — Right now, state lawmakers are considering a plan that would give the superintendent of public instruction more authority.
Senate Bill 2254 would allow the superintendent to step in and take charge of a school that’s chronically low performing. The idea of ‘low-performing’ could mean many things — including low test scores, schools mishandling money, or frequent cases of students not showing up for class.
People opposing the bill argue many of the towns dealing with those problems struggle with poverty, as well as a lack of staffing. Tribal spokespeople, in particular, are also asking for the bill to be amended to exclude schools on tribal land from that authority.
“When they graduate, we want them to be and have that ability to go where their dreams are and do what they want to do,” said Senator Curt Kreun. “And if we don’t pinpoint some of these, it may not happen.”
“There’s access to a lot of opportunities in Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks,” said tribal spokesperson, Scott Davis. “And where I’m from in Ft. Yates and Belcourt, those opportunities aren’t there.”
If the bill passes, a school that doesn’t improve could risk having its funding held in escrow. Schools could also be consolidated or closed, or staff members could be reassigned.