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United Voices is the official publication of North Dakota United, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501. Postmaster, send address changes to: North Dakota United 301 N 4th Street Bismarck, ND 58501 Linda Harsche Director of Communications Kelly Hagen Director of Field Communications Image Printing Design/Publisher
BARNES COUNTY NORTH TEACHERS LEAD STUDENTS IN RUNNING A BUSINESS
From small places can come some really big ideas. Barnes County North Public School is the result of three small places joining together to form a bigger concept. In 2007, Wimbledon-Courtenay School, North Central of Barnes and Spiritwood Public School reorganized to form Barnes County North Public School, a school building out alone in the middle of the prairie, with a current enrollment of 300 pre-K through 12th grade students. As the 2014-15 school year draws to a close, this will mark the end of the first year of a big and bold project that was conceived by teachers and implemented by students, designed to teach kids about what it’s like to run a business from the ground up.
ND UNITED READ ACROSS AMERICA EVENTS
NDU DELEGATE ASSEMBLY SET APRIL 18
2015 ND UNITED LEGISLATIVE CROSS OVER REPORT
Enthusiastic, excited, eager and passionate are just a few of the adjectives describing Student-ND United members at Minot State University, their advisor Dr. Daniel Conn, and NDU Retired members, as they celebrated Read Across America Day on Feb. 27, 2015. “For weeks, we have been planning for this event,” said Dr. Conn. “I provide the food, and they show up to plan the event. If you feed them, they will come. College students will never turn down a free meal.”
The NDU Delegate Assembly will be held at Bismarck State College, in the National Energy Center for Excellence Bavendick Stateroom on Saturday, April 18. This is a very important meeting – one where members will have an opportunity to share in the governance decisions of the NDU, elect Board members and statewide delegates to the NEA RA, which will be held July 1-6, 2015 in Orlando, FL. Your local and chapter presidents received delegate report forms for the Assembly. If you would like to be a delegate, please contact your local or chapter president today.
DSU PROFESSOR NOURISHES THE ARTS THROUGH EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
The reputation of Dickinson has long been rugged and tough. It’s a town currently doused in oil, known for roughnecks, long hours in tough conditions, calloused hands and tempered souls. Even before the boom, Dickinson was part of the “Old West” culture. Ranchers with worn-in cowboy boots and jeans, a weathered cowboy hat and dirt on their fingernails are part of the image of the lifestyle in Dickinson. You wouldn’t expect to see a poetry reading pop up in an environment like that. But they do, thanks in large part to individuals who are committed to the literary arts, and spreading awareness to the written word within the community, during what extra time they have.
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DROP IN OIL CAUSES LEGISLATURE TO RETHINK PRIORITIES Attend your 2015 NDU Delegate Assembly for updates
In many parts of North Dakota it is fair to say that spring has indeed sprung. The sun is out longer, the temperatures are warmer and people can once again be seen enjoying long walks, bike rides and grilling food outdoors. After a long and often exasperating winter, we welcome spring as a mother welcomes the embrace of her child. This year, as is the case every two years, the coming of spring coincides with the closing days of the Legislature. Our Legislature meets every two years for 80 days (not 2 days every 80 years as some have jokingly stated) to do the state’s business. This year’s edition, the 64th in our state’s history, has done its work against the backdrop of adversity not seen in recent sessions. The uncertainty, of course, has By Nick Archuleta NDU President
NDU needs your help to see to it that you receive a well-deserved pay increase. There are some legislators who do not value your work the way most North Dakotans do. So what can you do?”
been caused by the decrease in the price of oil. When Governor Dalrymple crafted his budget for the next biennium, the price for a barrel of oil was around $80. As I write this column, the price per barrel is $43.36. Needless to say, the drop in oil prices has caused legislators to rethink their priorities, as well as the level of spending necessary to meet them. Upon taking office, I set as one of my top priorities to establish a top-flight lobby team for NDU and I believe that I have. Stuart Savelkoul, Fern Pokorny and I are the day-to-day lobbyists working with legislators and providing testimony. Jane Rupprecht, Gisele Thorson and Geoff Greenwood provide research and very capable backup when the legislative hearing calendar requires us to break the laws of physics and be in two places at the same time. All in all, we work very hard to make sure our members’ voices are heard and their interests are represented in our Legislature. Later this month, April 18, to be exact, you will have the opportunity to represent your local at the 2nd NDU Delegate Assembly. The DA will be held in the beautiful Bavendick Stateroom in the Energy Center on the campus of Bismarck State College. The Delegate Assembly is the business meeting of your professional organization. It is here that the NDU budget will be approved, the NDU Board of Directors will be elected, and that you will have an opportunity to bring forth ideas that you would like to see adopted by North Dakota United. Please contact your local president and let them know that you are interested in representing your local at the 2015 NDU Delegate Assembly. See you there!
If we’re not following the negotiated agreement,
then there is no point in having one.”
Photos by Kyle Locket, NDU Communications
ENTERPRISING MINDS Barnes County North teachers lead students in running a business By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications
From small places can come some really big ideas. Barnes County North Public School is the result of three small places joining together to form a bigger concept. In 2007, Wimbledon-Courtenay School, North Central of Barnes and Spiritwood Public School reorganized to form Barnes County North Public School, a school building out alone in the middle of the prairie, with a current enrollment of 300 pre-K through 12th grade students. As the 2014-15 school year draws to a close, this will mark the end of the first year of a big and bold project that was conceived by teachers and implemented by students, designed to teach kids about what it’s like to run a business from the ground up. The BCN project was first envisioned, and made possible, through a grant application to EduTech in the spring of 2014, titled “Living and Breathing Common Core Curriculum Through School-Wide Enterprise.” Prepared by three BCN teachers, and NDU members, Lauren Ressler, Annette Beattie and Tracy Heinze, as well as the school’s technology coordinator, Melissa Bitz, paraprofessional Tess Smith and Principal Joan Klein. “It started with the EduTech grant,” Ressler said. “They have their grant called a Classroom Transformation Grant. The grant wasn’t given to a school just to buy technology to keep doing what you’ve always done. It’s supposed to transform your school.” And the Enterprise project has done that: transformed operations at this small school in the open country. Almost every student enrolled at Barnes County North, from 7th grade through 12th grade, take part in running a business, empowered by a host of modern 4
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A student working in Finance balances the books.
A 3-D printer was part of the technology purchased with the Enterprise grant.
Students work on screen printing press as part of manufacturing.
A student measures out a shirt for the placement of a logo.
technology purchased through the grant and assisted by every high school teacher at BCN. BCN Productions is the name chosen for their business, and, quite plainly, their business produces. This student-centered operation, which only started at the beginning of this current school year, produces products ranging from baked goods like apple pies, bars and cookies, screen-printed and embroidered T-shirts, and specialty products, like can cozies, vinyl banners and signs. “I was probably one of the biggest skeptics, and I’ve been really impressed with the things that they are doing,” said Heinze. “We were talking about this, some businesses, the stuff they do is in eight hours per day. These kids are producing all this stuff in a half hour each day, making those phone calls and advertising.” Students operate BCN Productions from 12:00-12:30 p.m. each weekday. “The challenge is staying organized, from day to day,” said Ressler, “If you think about it, just half an hour a day, you have to remember all that you’re doing and then transfer to the next day. That’s a huge skill for any student.” Operations are broken down into seven departments: Research, Marketing, Design, Production Control, Manufacturing, Quality Control, and Packaging and Delivery. Students were assigned to departments and their roles therein based upon observations made by the teachers. “Last spring, the last couple days of school, we did activities,” Heinze explained. “They were in groups, and then they had to do different activities, whether it was creative display, a skit, or an ad about problem-solving. We were watching and then used that information.” ndunited.org
That information also helped teachers to pick out those students who would serve as managers in each department. They watched how the students interacted during their group activities and looked for those kids “who came to the top as a leader,” Beattie said. “Who said they were a leader, and then who acted as a leader, wasn’t always the same thing,” Ressler added. “So we had something to go by to structure the groups,” Heinze said. “We didn’t just throw people into a group. We did have some data.” The key to making this project work, and in securing the grant funding, is that it was planned and implemented to be studentcentered. While each department has a teacher serving as advisor, and the teachers needed to step in and help quite a bit in the beginning of the project, to get students trained in on using the technology that was purchased with the grant, including screenprinting presses, design software and even a 3-D printer, the students are the ones making the decisions and pushing their business forward. “Our goal was always student-centered,” Ressler said. “They problem solve and they come up with the ideas. That’s been a growing process, too, when there’s points when it’s much more student-centered, and they’re taking the lead. And then there are points when we have to step in and really help.” Students have needed to step up and come up with solutions that have popped up in the process. When some of the students found themselves unsatisfied with the departments they worked in or the 5
From Left to Right: Annette Beattie, Tess Smith, Tracy Heinze, Lauren Ressler, Joan Klein and Melissa Bitz wrote the grant request for the Barnes County North’s Enterprise project.
concerned, our groups range from grades 7 through 12, and I would say that the majority of my group are people who I usually don’t talk to because either they’re seventh graders or they’re not in my group of friends. So really learning to communicate with everybody, whether or not they’re your friends, and being able to talk to everybody and to work as a group in order to get the job done, was really invaluable.”
A student works on baking a plate of bars.
roles they were playing, the students came up with a process to fix that. “We have a transfer form, where if they wish to go to a different department, there’s a process they follow,” Beattie explained. “There’s an interview process, and a job-shadowing time period, and then that department has to accept them.” “And that was student-centered,” Ressler added. “They created that process. We just started the year, and students kept saying, ‘Well, what if we want to switch?’ So they found a problem, and then they had to figure it out. That was probably one of their first student-centered endeavors. They created a subcommittee, and had some meetings, and figured it out.” Students don’t receive classroom credit for their work in this Enterprise project, but the rewards they do receive are real-life experiences in learning how to take responsibility, work as a team and accomplish tasks on a timeline. The project is designed to help students meet the seven goals of college and career readiness outlined under the English Language Arts Standards within Common Core. For Allie, the student manager of marketing and sales, the skills she will take away from the Enterprise project will help her in a myriad of ways. “I think that as far as the business goes,” she said, “I would definitely consider exploring a degree in business now, because now I know what it is. Also, as far as Enterprise is 6
As they get closer to the end of the first year of this innovative program, the students and their teachers are hoping to spread the good word about the progress they’ve made. They are presenting to the North Dakota State Legislature as part of the EduTech Showcase, and will take part in the North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders (NDATL) Spring Conference. “Our principal, Joan Klein, has great insight and forethought,” Ressler said. “If this works, she’s been worried about documenting what we’ve done and our process, because it is something that could be modeled.” But to any other school districts that may want to try their own model of what Barnes County North has accomplished, the teachers who first wrote up the grant and spearheaded this project have some friendly advice. “I don’t want anyone to underestimate the amount of work this takes to do,” Ressler said. “Of course we’d love other people to try this process, but it’s really kind of a magic mix of people who are willing and are able and have these skills. Annette is from a manufacturing setting; she’s an industrial engineer, and she transferred into Tech Ed. So I think, really source who you have in your building, and I think you could find something. Work with what you have.” BCN Productions is promoted online through social media, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bisonproductions, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCNProd. To learn more about BCN Productions and their Enterprise project, or to make an order, visit the Barnes County North Public School website at www.barnescounty.nd.schoolwebpages.com, and click on BCN Productions. ND United Voices
Andrea Noonan, second from right in second row, poses with Gala awardees.
From left to right: NDU Vice President Karen Christensen, President Nick Archuleta, Andrea Noonan, and NEA Director Karen Askerooth at the Gala.
NOONAN HONORED AT FOUNDATION GALA
39 educators selected from across the nation Known as the Academy Awards of public education, the NEA Foundationâ€™s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in Americaâ€™s public schools and of the unique bonds that educators and students share. This year, 39 educators from across the nation were selected by their peers to receive the California Casualty Awards of Teaching Excellence. ND United member Andrea Noonan of West Fargo was the recipient from North Dakota. The Gala, held on Feb. 13, 2015, in Washington, DC, attracted more than 800 national education leaders and supporters. NDU President Nick Archuleta, Vice President Karen Christensen and NEA Director Karen Askerooth attended the Gala to honor Noonan. ndunited.org
BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOUR WORKPLACE Talk to your colleagues about what needs to improve.
By Karen Christensen Vice President of Education
A forest fire starts with a single spark. Your single voice can begin the conversation that changes the culture of your workplace. Start the process by being the advocate for your workplace. Talk to your colleagues about what needs to improve.”
Sitting at a MREC ELA training, the facilitator asked us to share what we are most proud of in our lives (besides our family). I was happy to share that I love being the Vice President of Education for North Dakota United (NDU), because I have been granted the opportunity to be an advocate for our members. As an NDU leader, I have had the chance to visit with members across the state. Respectfully listening to member needs and the wide variety of expectations and demands placed on our members has been enlightening. On the way home from the class, while driving on snow and ice, I was thinking about the meaning of an advocate. The dictionary describes an advocate as someone who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Being an advocate means that you ask for what you need while respecting the needs of others. An advocate stands up for members’ rights and makes their voices heard. To my surprise, a song came on the radio that matched my thoughts perfectly. It was an Aaron Tippin song, “You’ve Got to Stand for Something.” This song tells about a father whose reputation suggested that he would never compromise what was right. He says, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” I think personal and employee rights are among the most important issues to advocate strongly for today. One of the best ways to advocate for you is to ask for help. Looking for information that directly and specifically addresses what you need helps to set self-advocacy in motion. NDU offered a wide-range of professional development sessions to answer the questions to make advocacy with confidence much easier. The sessions offered at the NDU Bargaining & Advocacy Conference on March 27 and 28 addressed basics of bargaining, finance, contract language and improving verbal skills. Other topics were employee issues, political action, developing leadership and communication. All strands of membership had a session dedicated to improved self-advocacy. A forest fire starts with a single spark. Your single voice can begin the conversation that changes the culture of your workplace. Start the process by being the advocate for your workplace. Talk to your colleagues about what needs to improve. Build on the talents of those that work at your worksite. Discuss the advantage of change, increased productivity and positive results in the community. Be willing to initiate the development of new ideas. As the enthusiasm for progress grows, so does the fire of progress for a better working environment. Although the fire may smolder at the beginning, the time and energy spent is well worth the effort. “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” - Queen Elizabeth II
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Public Service Perspectives
ATTACKS ON DEFINED BENEFIT Retirement plans are a target for opponents Over the past several North Dakota legislative sessions, there have been multiple attempts to close the North Dakota Public Employee Retirement System’s (NDPERS) defined-benefit (DB) plan and force all new hires into a defined-contribution (DC) plan. Rather than providing a retired employee with a guaranteed retirement income like a DB plan, a DC plan makes an employee fully responsible for investing their retirement contributions and limits benefit payments to the balance in their retirement account no matter how long the employee lives beyond retirement.
billion has been contributed to the plan, $1.36 billion has been paid out By Gary Feist in benefits, and, as Vice President of of July 1, 2014, the Public Employees plan had a balance of $2.28 billion, which means that all benefits have been paid out of earnings of the plan.
You may say that this change only affects new hires, so why should I care since it doesn’t affect me? However, closing the DB plan would affect all of us since the number of employees paying into the fund would continue to decrease, while the amount of benefits being paid out would continue to increase. If the plan needed additional revenue to pay the benefits of the plan, the state and the remaining employees in the DB plan would be required to make additional contributions to meet the financial needs of the plan.
The benefits that public employees have received from the plan have been spent in communities throughout North Dakota, growing the economy, helping businesses thrive, and added to the state’s tax base as the benefits have been included in the public employee’s taxable income.
The attack on defined-benefit plans happening in North Dakota and across the country is being led by several national groups, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Arnold Foundation. Why do these groups and some legislators in North Dakota want to move employees to a DC retirement plan? Some of the reasons that have been given include: DB plans are unsustainable; most of the private sector has moved its employees to DC plans; and public employees shouldn’t get better benefits than the taxpayer paying for the benefit. The NDPERS DB plan was started in 1977 and has earned an average rate of return of just over 8 percent for the life of the plan, which is also the expected actuarial rate of return. The DB plan has been fully funded in the past, meaning the fund could pay all current and future liabilities to its current members. However, in 2008 with the downtown in the economy, all retirement plans – both DB and DC (401K) plans — experienced significant losses, reducing their funding status. Over the past several years, the state and public employees have shared in contribution increases to put the DB plan on a path to becoming fully funded again. The fund’s current cash funding level is 73 percent. The case can be made that offering a DB plan has enabled the state to attract and retain employees when salaries have not been comparable to the private sector. In addition to being a successful recruitment tool, the plan has also experienced financial success. Since its inception, $1.35
America has a retirement crisis. The median retirement savings is only $3,000 for all working-age households, and only $12, 000 for those close to retirement. Employees need to have access to retirement plans that will provide them with the resources that are necessary for them to live in financial dignity. The American Federation of Teachers, NDU’s national affiliate, is working with a bipartisan group of state treasures, other unions and Wall Street firms to expand retirement security through pooled professional asset management. Currently 16 states are considering legislation or taking steps to provide pension plans to workers who do not have access to one. As public employees, we need to work toward financial security for all workers or the attacks on our pensions will continue. North Dakota’s DB plan is on a path to recovery, has a proven track record of meeting its expected rate of return over the life of the plan, has provided retirement security for many state employees, and provides economic stability to communities across the state. Closing the DB plan will cost the state millions of additional dollars and will hurt the state’s ability to recruit and retain staff. North Dakota United stood in opposition to SB 2038, a bill that would have closed the DB retirement plan for new hires, and it was defeated soundly in the Senate by a vote of 8-39. We will continue to stand vigilantly in opposition to these plans to destroy our public workers’ retirement plans. And, as we guard it, the DB plan can continue on its path to fully funded status again and will enable current and future public employees of North Dakota to retire with retirement security.
Read Across America Events
ND UNITED READ ACROSS AMERICA EVENTS NDU students, retired, Rolla and ND Legislature celebrate By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications
Enthusiastic, excited, eager and passionate are just a few of the adjectives describing Student-ND United members at Minot State University, their advisor Dr. Daniel Conn, and NDU Retired members, as they celebrated Read Across America Day on Feb. 27, 2015. “For weeks, we have been planning for this event,” said Dr. Conn. “I provide the food, and they show up to plan the event. If you feed them, they will come. College students will never turn down a free meal.” Minot State Student reads to classroom while MSU Student Advisor Dr. Daniel Conn and ND United Representative Gisele Thorson watch.
But, the real reason the students were so enthusiastic was because of the motivation of their advisor, Dr. Conn. He is bubbly, energetic and looks to be about their age. In fact, he could easily be mistaken for one of his students. He was always asking for their opinions and keeping them on task. Everything was planned to perfection. The officers of the SNDU Minot State University Local are: Andrea Ray (President), Malia Salyards (Vice President), Britton Bissette (Public Relations Officer), Lindsay Kightlinger (Secretary), Camilla Keller (Treasurer) and Katrina Pouteaux (Student Government Representative). The NDU Retired members were organized by someone just as enthusiastic — NDU Retired President Gloria Lokken. She recruited Julie Bonner, Judy Hall, Joan Burnside, Mary Carlson and Apryl Davenport to help with the reading. In one hour, between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on that Friday, students and retired members read to over 2,700 children in K-3 classrooms across the city of Minot. The young students were excited to be read Dr. Seuss books by NDU students and retired members wearing Dr. Seuss hats. They were told that the coming week, Dr. Seuss would have a surprise for each and every one of them. The expectations in the beginning of their project were to give each child a book paid for by ND United, and the books were ordered from Scholastic at a discounted rate by NDU Student Advisor Heather Fritz. However, because of the snowstorm in the eastern part of the United States, the books did not arrive in time. Once they did show up, the students counted them out by each classroom and once again returned to each school in the city to deliver them personally. Although at first everyone was disappointed that the books were not delivered on time, the event was more successful than ever. The Minot State students got to have two different encounters with the K-3 students, and Scholastic felt so bad that they doubled the order of books. Dr. Conn is already planning next year’s event for Read Across America.
NDU Retired President Gloria Lokken enjoys listening to a student read.
Students pack books to deliver to classrooms.
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NEA MEMBER BENEFITS’ GRANT PAYS FOR BOOKS Rolla elementary students celebrate March 2 By ND United Board Member Brenda Seehafer
The National Education Association (NEA) Member Benefits and the Rolla Education Association helped Rolla elementary students celebrate Read Across America Day this year. NEA’s Read Across America happens annually on March 2, 2015, which is the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss. The purpose of Read Across America is to motivate children to read all year long. “Reading is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. It is known from research that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school. During Read Across America this year, each elementary student in Pre-K through sixth grade in Rolla was given a Dr. Seuss book to keep. Teachers in the elementary school chose a Dr. Seuss title that their class received and did some activities with that day. The senior class went into the elementary classrooms that morning and read to the students, as part of their first period class. The seniors were each given the book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” as a thank you for helping with this project; this book celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Dr. Seuss hats provided by ND United adorned the heads of the elementary students on March 2, as well. The lunch menu that day was from a Dr. Seuss title, too. You guessed it – Green Eggs and Ham! The Rolla Education Association was able to purchase the books in order to celebrate Read Across America Day because of a $5,000 grant NDU Board member Brenda Seehafer won from the NEA Member Benefits booth at the NEA Representative Assembly last summer in Denver.
NEA Director Karen Askerooth and NDU President Nick Archuleta present NDU Board Member Brenda Seehafer with the NEA Member Benefits $5,000 check she used to help celebrate Read Across America.
Several schools in Rolette County, including Mt. Pleasant in Rolla, took part in Read Across American Day. Hope Neufeld was one of several high school students that took time to read a Dr. Seuss book to their elementary counterparts.
Other high school students who enjoyed reading to classrooms.
Read Across America Events
NORTH DAKOTA HOUSE AND SENATE READ PROCLAMATIONS Making March 5 ND United Read Across America Day By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications Since March 2, 2015, was Crossover for the North Dakota Legislature, ND United decided to celebrate Read Across America Day on March 5, at the state Capitol. With the help of Rep. Lois Delmore in the House of Representative and Sen. Nicole Poolman in the Senate, the celebration came off without a hitch. ND United provided hats for all the legislators, Beth Romfo’s first-grade classroom from Will-Moore School sat on both the House and Senate floor with legislators while proclamations were read proclaiming March 5, 2015, as ND United Read Across America Day. House Majority Leader Al Carlson read the proclamation in the House with his granddaughter at his side, and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner read it in the Senate. Legislators said, “What better way to get back to work than to celebrate reading with students!”
Representative Al Carlson reads the Proclamation with his granddaughter, Alexa Carlson.
The CAT visits Representative Lois Delmore on the House floor. North Dakota House of Representatives enjoy hats provided by ND United.
Romfo’s class got to tour the Capitol after the Read Across America Event.
First-grade Beth Romfo (THE CAT) of Will-Moore School in Bismarck, NDU President Nick Archuleta, Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, Senator Major Leader Rich Wardner and Senator Nichole Poolman pose with Romfo’s students outside the Senate Chambers.
EVERYBODY IN THE SPOOL
Communications are vital in building structures of our associations Let’s play Tinkertoys for a minute. We’re going to build something – a union. If you don’t know what Tinkertoys are; I assure you, you do. It’s a toy construction site consisting of a bunch of different wooden parts all packaged inside a long, large tube, which made for a handy drum in a pinch. The parts are what make the toy, though. There are sticks, wheels, caps, couplings, pulleys, “Part W” (no time to explain), pointed sticks and flags. It’s a lot, and the possibilities of what you can build with these parts are endless. Let’s concentrate on the sticks. They’re different colors and sizes. Each stick represents a different aspect of membership in your local association or in North Dakota United. Purple is advocacy, red is member benefits, orange is representation, yellow is professional development, blue is insurance, green is activism, etc. You get a lot out of your membership in the union, but you can do even more. Communication is the spool. What is a spool? That’s what you just asked out loud. I heard you. A spool is that round wheel with holes drilled around the perimeter, and in which you can connect all these multi-colored sticks. And build something greater than any single part.
By Kelly Hagen Director of Field Communications
So I just called myself a spool, or at least what I do professionally. I spool for a living. Why am I doing all this weird name-calling? Because it is my belief that communications is so important to connecting every other thing we do, within our local and state associations, but also outside of that, in our daily lives, in our professions and our personal relations. Communications is the spool that connects every other task you do. Think about it. You advocate for your profession every day, just by doing the good work you do. You are a credit to your profession, and a job well done is its own reward, as they say. However, you can’t really advocate if you’re not communicating what it is you do, why you do it, and how well you do your job. Your local leaders are charged with administrating your association. It’s in their best interest to do so in as transparent of a manner as possible, so that every member of your association knows what it is that your locals are doing in service to the association. You do that through communication. Talk to your member. You won’t be sorry that you did. Organizing is crucial to what we do. Our strength, on every level, is dependent on how well we can organize our members and their voices together into one unified and strengthened message. We need to work together, stand together and speak together in order to have our voices heard. And you can’t organize people without communications. Every e-mail we send out, every issue of United Voices, every postcard and mailer we send through the mail, every phone call we make to one another, every classroom or office visit between members brings us closer to that goal of being truly in sync, organized and ready to stand up, united, for what we believe. I want to invite any and all of our members to take a moment and fill out a survey that we’ve set up, in order to assess your capacity for communications on a local level. Visit our Local Communications Assessment Tool at http://goo.gl/forms/nw5dkPRZ5Q and answer just a few questions about who you are and what your local does to communicate with you, with your fellow members, with prospective members and with the public. We want to know what you think. Building up communications systems will be a task that must be done in accordance with your local leaders. What we hope to accomplish with this survey is to get perspectives directly from members, and hopefully begin to identify individuals who are interested in doing such things as building or operating a website, using social media, writing articles or news releases, taking pictures or designing flyers, and encouraging you to do these things for your local or chapter.
Be the spool. It’s cool. ndunited.org
NDU DELEGATE ASSEMBLY SET APRIL 18 Members will share in decisions elect officers and NEA delegates By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications
When & Where The NDU Delegate Assembly will be held at Bismarck State College, in the National Energy Center for Excellence Bavendick Stateroom on Saturday, April 18. This is a very important meeting – one where members will have an opportunity to share in the governance decisions of the NDU, elect Board members and statewide delegates to the NEA RA, which will be held July 1-6, 2015, in Orlando, FL. Your local and chapter presidents received delegate report forms for the Assembly. If you would like to be a delegate, please contact your local or chapter president today.
Delegate Report Form Each local is guaranteed at least one representative. Larger locals are allowed 1 per 50 members. If you do not hear from your president, please contact them and tell them you would like to attend the NDU Delegate Assembly and represent your local or chapter. The Delegate Report Form must be completed ASAP but no later than April 10. More information, including the agenda, will be sent to delegates when NDU receives the Delegate Report Form.
Meet the Candidates Social Plan to attend the Social on Friday, April 17, 2015, from 7 to 9 p.m. It will be held at the Ramada Bismarck Hotel, in the restaurant.
Hotel Accomodations If you need hotel accommodations, please contact the Ramada Bismarck Hotel (former Doublewood, 1400 E. Interchange Ave.) directly. The phone number is 701-258-7000 or 800-554-7077. Tell them you are attending the North Dakota United (NDU) function when you make your reservation. GUARANTEE your room for late arrival with a credit card or they will release the room at 4 p.m. Room rates are $74.70 single and $94.00 double (plus tax). Please contact the hotel before March 30 to qualify for these rates. After March 30, the room block will be released and reservations will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis.
Expenses Delegate Assembly Assistance: Recognizing the importance of participation at the state delegate assembly, NDU will provide the following expense assistance to locals or chapters (not individuals): the IRS standard business mileage rate for one car per local, one-half of the cost of a double room at the DA hotel, if necessary, for each delegate and $25 for each registered delegate. In addition, NDU will be responsible for breakfast and lunch on the day of the assembly.
Elections The following members have filed petitions for NDU office and for the National Education Association RA in Orlando, FL this summer. No petitions were filed for the Higher Education – 2-year position. Names can be submitted for this position at the NDU Delegate Assembly. There are also only eight delegates running for the NEA RA delegate positions. NDU is allowed to take 15 delegates. ND United President Nick Archuleta counts as one of the delegates, so there are six positions open, which can be filled at the NDU Delegate Assembly on April 18, 2015. 14
ND United Voices
K-12 DISTRICT (From a district with less than 600 students) Brenda Seehafer, a Title I teacher in Rolla, is currently a member of the North Dakota United
(NDU) Board of Directors where she serves on the Budget and UPAC Committees. She also serves as NDU’s Resolutions Chair on the NEA Resolutions Committee.
On the local level, Seehafer has served as Rolla Education Association President and bargainer. She was President-Elect of the North Dakota Reading Association and President of the Chautauqua Reading Association. Seehafer was Delta Kappa Gamma State Second Vice-President, Finance Chair, and Lambda Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma treasurer. She also served on the Education Standards and Practices Board Program Approval Advisory Committee.
K-12 DISTRICT (More than 600 students) Dakota Draper, former NDEA President and board member, is a classroom Instructor at
Woodrow Wilson Alternative High School in Fargo. Draper also served as the Hillsboro Education Association president. He also taught American History at Ben Franklin Middle School in Fargo and business and social studies at Hillsboro High School. Draper was raised in Minot and a graduate of Minot State University. He and his wife, Vicki, have two daughters, Corey and Caitlin.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE Mike Stebbins, who presently serves on the NDU Board, supervises the Underwood Section as
an Equipment Operator III. He is responsible for keeping over 200 lane miles of state highways safe, and supervises three employees. As an equipment operator, Stebbins has volunteered to assist with flood control in the cities of Fargo, Minot and Bismarck. He routinely works countless hours of overtime every winter combating snow and ice. Stebbins has also served on the Coleharbor City Council for over 15 years, and was instrumental in organizing the city’s recovery from their 2006 wind storm disaster. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married for 27 years and have three adult children and two grandchildren.
HIGHER EDUCATION– Support Jamie Eriksson, an NDU Board member for two years, is an Administrative Assistance Physical Plant/Facilities Services at Mayville State University. She serves on the UPAC and Personnel Committees.
As a North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA) member for 24 years, Eriksson served on the NDPEA Board of Directors and the COPE Committee. She currently serves as Secretary Treasurer of Local 4660 Board of Directors. She is starting her 26th year of working at Mayville State University. Her husband, Lars, is an auto technician who works at Finley Motors in Mayville, and they have two daughters.
HIGHER EDUCATION– 2 Year (No Petitions received) HIGHER EDUCATION– 4 Year Paul Markel is Professor of Psychology and Interim Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences at Minot State University (MSU).
He is a member of the NDU Higher Education Advisory Council and served as North Dakota University System Council of College Faculties President and Department of Addiction Studies, Psychology, and Social work Chairperson at MSU. A native of Bismarck, Markel received a National Institutes of mental Health Fellowship for his graduate studies in Colorado, the Minot State Board of Regents Faculty Achievement Award, and was selected Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Student Government Association at MSU.
He and his wife, Tamera, have six children ranging in age from 18-months to 22 years.
ETHNIC DIRECTOR Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alicia Bata received her Bachelors of Arts degree, teaching certificate, ESL/Bilingual endorsement, and Masters of Science degree in Education with a cognate in Bilingual Education from UND. She is presently teaching on interactive television from Cavalier and Park River to four other high schools in northeastern North Dakota. Bata was elected and served as National Education Association (NEA) Director representing North Dakota for two terms. She was appointed by NEA’s President to serve on the Human and Civil Rights Committee in Washington DC, also for two terms. She was selected to participate in the Magna Carta Human Rights Project carried out by NEA in conjunction with the NUT (National Union of Teachers) in England. She was voted by her peers on the NEA Board to be a delegate representing the United States at the World Congress of Education in South Africa. Bata is a National Trainer on the ELL Cadre and on the NEA Cultural Competence team. She is also a North Dakota presenter of the “I Can Do It” classroom management workshop. She is married to a North Dakota farmer, Bill, and has four children and one grandchild.
NORTHEAST REGION DIRECTOR Lori Young, a member of the NDU Resolutions Committee, is a third grade teacher in Grand Forks.
Young was a former member of the NDEA Pensions Committee and is presently on the Grand Forks Education Association (GFEA) Executive Board as Instruction and Professional Development Chair. She formerly taught in Lisbon and served as high school Drama Director. Young also conducted the Summer Performing Arts Company for the Grand Forks Public Schools from 1989-2008. She received her Bachelors of Education degree from the UND in Elementary Education and Theatre Arts.
NORTHWEST REGION DIRECTOR Alan Leintz, the Public School Employees Director on the NDU Board, is seeking reelection to the Board as Northwest Region Director.
Leintz, a custodian at Erik Ramstad Middle School in Minot, also served as a board member for the NDPEA and both President and Financial Secretary of the North Dakota United Public Employees Chapter 52, Minot Service Employees. He was born and raised in Harvey and has lived in Surrey since 1991. He and his wife, Cindy, have three daughters, Samantha, Kayla, and McKenzie.
SOUTHEAST REGION DIRECTOR David Marquardt, a current member of the NDU Board of Directors, is a third grade teacher in Fargo.
Marquardt also serves as President of the Fargo Education Association, and he was a former Vice President of his local. He received his master’s degree from NDSU and his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State Uninversity, Moorhead. Marquardt and his wife, Mindy, have three children, Leah, Lincoln and Avery.
SOUTHWEST REGION DIRECTOR Toni Gumeringer, a speech language pathologist in the Bismarck Public Schools, is a current
ND United Board of Directors member. She was elected to serve on the NDU board in April of 2013. Toni chaired the 2009 NDEA Instructional Conference and co-chaired the 2011 Instructional Conference. On the local level, Gumeringer has served as president, vice president and treasurer. She has attended four RAs, one as a state delegate and three times as a Bismarck representative. Gumeringer has been married to her husband, Ron, for 31 years. They have three sons, Travis (Sarah) of Bismarck, Christopher of Mandan, Benjamin of Fargo, and one grandson, Chase.
ND United Voices
NEA RA DELEGATES Stacy Adamson is an elementary Health and Physical Education teacher at Harwood, which is in the West Fargo Public School District.
This is her eighth year of teaching. Adamson has been a member of the district, local and state associations since she began teaching. For the last year, she has served as West Fargo vice president. Previously, she served as a building representative. Last year, Adamson was chosen by her local association, West Fargo Education Association, to represent them in Las Vegas at the NEA Leadership Summit. Adamson is married and has three children.
Deb Beeler, a Speech Pathologist in the West Fargo Public Schools, is in her 33rd year of teaching in the state of North Dakota. Thirty-one of those years were in the West Fargo Public Schools system.
Beeler is in her third year as the treasurer for West Fargo Education Association (WFEA). Prior to serving as the treasurer, she was an Elementary Representative on the Executive Board for West Fargo Education Association. WFEA continues to grow as quickly as the school district, and therefore the Association duties keep her busy. She graduated from North Dakota State University with her Bachelor’s degree and the University of North Dakota with her Master’s degree in Speech Pathology. Beeler continues to be active in her church, an advocate for the students she works with, and says she enjoys spending much of her time assisting her aging parents.
Lisa K. Dullum is completing her 15th year of teaching. For the first seven years, she taught K-12 music in Bowbells and Grenora. The past eight years, she has spent her time teaching elementary music for West Fargo Public Schools. Dullum has been a member of WFEA since she started teaching in West Fargo, and in the past few years she started taking a more active role as WFEA Executive Board Secretary, multiple committees, and as a building representative. She is now serving as president of the West Fargo Executive Board. Dullum chose to take a more active role because those who have been leading for many years would be retiring, and Dullum feels it was important to take the initiative to learn from those leaders/ mentors. She is excited for the opportunity to be involved in her local association and is looking forward to the possibility of being involved at a state level.
Toni Gumeringer, a speech language pathologist in the Bismarck Public Schools, is a current NDU Board of Directors member. She was elected to serve on the NDU board in April of 2013. Toni chaired the 2009 NDEA Instructional Conference and co-chaired the 2011 Instructional Conference. On the local level, Gumeringer has served as president, vice president and treasurer. She has attended four RAs, one as a state delegate and three times as a Bismarck representative. Gumeringer has been married to her husband, Ron, for 31 years. They have three sons, Travis (Sarah) of Bismarck, Christopher of Mandan, Benjamin of Fargo, and one grandson, Chase.
Linda Maize, a second-grade teacher from Beulah, has her Master’s degree from Minot State University in Elementary Education.
She was a member of the NDEA Board of Directors for six years. She is currently on the NDU Foundation Board and serves on the Ready Child Commission. She also belongs to the ND Reading Association and serves on the Beulah Imagination Library Committee as treasurer. Maize is a past Nationally Board Certified Teacher. She did not renew since she is close to retirement. In her school district, she served as the NCA Steering Committee chair, secretary for the Dollars for Scholars, and various committees. She has been fortunate to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, the National Board Leadership Conference, and the National Writing Project Conference.
Her hobbies and interests are photography, reading, scrapbooking, stamping cards, making jewelry, pastel painting, watercolor and china painting. She belongs to various art organizations and holds several offices in them. Her first love has always been her Quarter Horses. Maize looks forward to being a delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly.
Brooklyn Schann, a kindergarten teacher at Washburn Public School, is a former Student President of the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA). She graduated Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a reading concentration from Minot State University. Schann began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher in Turtle Lake-Mercer. After two years of teaching fifth grade, she became a kindergarten teacher in Washburn. She and her husband, Chris, reside in Underwood and they have two children.
Tim Thueson is a Title I Coordinator and Title I math and reading teacher at Solen. He formerly taught in McClusky, Pettibone and Sheyenne. Thueson graduated Cum Laude from Mayville State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. He received his Master of Science degree in Education from Minot State University. Thueson served as president, vice president and negotiating team member on the local level. Besides NDU, he is a member of the Communication, Speech, and Theatre Association of North Dakota. He has been involved in school improvement, the North Dakota Theatre Arts Curriculum Frameworks Committee, the North Dakota Reading Association, and the North Dakota Geography Alliance. He is actively involved in the Lions Club and has held many leadership roles. Special recognitions include: Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (3 times), listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Professionals (2 times), and a Melvin Jones Fellowship Awardee. He is a lifemember of the North Dakota Firefighters’ Association, a Melvin Jones Fellow and has received four Lions Club International President’s Certificates of Appreciation. Thueson is married to Lynell, and they have one son, Mark.
Tom Young lives in his hometown of Grand Forks where he has been teaching vocal music since 1990. His wife and best friend, Lori, is also a teacher in Grand Forks. His daughter, Morgan, will graduate from high school this spring, and his stepson, Matt and his family live in Fargo.
Young earned his B.S. in music education from NDSU and his M.M. in vocal pedagogy from UND. Before moving to Grand Forks, he taught in Golden Valley, Dodge, and LaMoure. He was a founding staff member of the Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) in Grand Forks, where he served as head of the voice staff and was the founder and artistic director of the SPA Vocal Arts Ensemble. He enjoys his work directing the Sanctuary Choir at Sharon Lutheran Church. When he’s not making music, he enjoys hunting with his stepson, fixing his boat, and dreaming of fishing. Young has served as an NDEA Ambassador and as a bargainer for GFEA. In addition to being an NDU member organizer, Tom is currently serving as president of the Grand Forks Education Association.
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ND United Voices
CLUSTER DELEGATES Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alicia Bata received her Bachelors of Arts degree, teaching certificate, ESL/Bilingual endorsement, and Masters of Science degree in Education with a cognate in Bilingual Education from UND. She is presently teaching on interactive television from Cavalier and Park River to four other high schools in northeastern North Dakota. Bata was elected and served as National Education Association (NEA) Director representing North Dakota for two terms. She was appointed by NEA’s President to serve on the Human and Civil Rights Committee in Washington DC, also for two terms. She was selected to participate in the Magna Carta Human Rights Project carried out by NEA in conjunction with the NUT (National Union of Teachers) in England. She was voted by her peers on the NEA Board to be a delegate representing the United States at the World Congress of Education in South Africa. Bata is a National Trainer on the ELL Cadre and on the NEA Cultural Competence team. She is also a North Dakota presenter of the “I Can Do It” classroom management workshop. She is married to a North Dakota farmer, Bill, and has four children and one grandchild.
Karen Christensen is vice president of education for NDU and a fifth-grade teacher at the Wishek Public School.
NDEA recognized Christensen in the fall of 2000 as an Emerging Leader, and she was also awarded the KXMB Golden Apple in 2004. Christensen has served as a member of NDEA Design Team (MAP Committee), a small and rural school representative for the Midwest Region, the NDEA board of directors from 2005 to 2011, and as the chair of the NDEA Resolutions Commission. She was also a member of NEA Resolutions Committee and has participated in many Association conferences. Christensen serves on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Review Team, Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB), Program Approval Advisory Committee (PAAC), NEA “I Can Do It” Trainer, and Imagination Library Site Coordinator. As a local leader, Christensen served as president of the Wishek Education Association, and has also served as vice president. She has been a local negotiator, booster club director and education representative for the church council. She and her husband have one daughter, Traci.
Brenda Seehafer, a Title I teacher in Rolla, is currently a member of the NDU Board of Directors where she serves on the Budget and U-PAC Committees. She is also serves as NDU’s Resolutions Chair on the NEA Resolutions Committee. On the local level, Seehafer has served as Rolla Education Association President and bargainer. She was President-Elect of the North Dakota Reading Association and President of the Chautauqua Reading Association. Seehafer was Delta Kappa Gamma State Second Vice-President, Finance Chair, and Lambda Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma treasurer. She also served on the Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) Program Approval Advisory Committee.
HEALTH PLAN SWITCHED
NDPERS changes from Blue Cross to Sanford By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications
Many public employees and educators were surprised to hear the news on Feb. 19 that the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System (NDPERS) board had decided that the contract for the NDPERS administered group health plan would be awarded to Sanford Health Plan (SHP). “Members will be able to use their current medical providers and be confident that the plan’s benefits will continue,” said Jon Strinden, NDPERS Board Chairman, in a statement. Previous to the switch, the NDPERS group health plan had been handled by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) for the last 37 years. Naturally, this change caused a great deal of surprise and anxiety among the 29,000 public employees, retirees and their dependents enrolled in the plan. The decision was made after a seven-month-long process of the board considering bids from both BCBS and Sanford, and reporting on the progress in the NDPERS newsletter and online. However, when the decision was announced, many public workers reported that the news articles about the decision already being made to switch were the first they had heard about the possibility of switching providers. “The North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System has made one of the most important decisions it could make in ending its relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota,” said Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United (which is in no way affiliated with NDPERS). “We hope that, as a state agency, NDPERS did not make this decision lightly. North Dakota United, state and municipal employees, and state lawmakers are left with no other recourse than to trust NDPERS’s judgment on this matter, as we have done before. As the proposals from the Blues and Sanford were closed to the public, and the decision was made in private executive session, it is impossible to advise our members regarding the merits of this agreement between NDPERS and Sanford.” PERS and Sanford have teamed up to inform public employees about the changes and what to expect from the transition to the health plan contract with Sanford, which takes effect on July 1, 2015. A website was launched at www.sanfordhealthplan.com/ndpers to answer questions by members of the NDPERS health plan, and all those affected by the change are also invited to contact Sanford directly with their questions or concerns by email, ndpers@sanfordhealthplan. com, or by phone at 701-751-4125 or 800-499-3416 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. Archuleta said that public employees are uneasy about the change, and that NDU will continue to ask questions about the NDPERS Board’s decision. “Our members are understandably anxious to know the details of this newly reached agreement,” Archuleta said. “It is on their behalf that North Dakota United will be working to learn about the particulars of the agreement and the rationale behind the NDPERS decision. We ask state legislators to do the same.” The state Legislature took the rare step of introducing a new bill after Crossover, one which would ensure that coverage in the new plan would match the coverage offered by the old BCBS plan. Lawmakers, who are also covered by the NDPERS health plan, began work on HB 1475 after the switch was announced on Feb. 19. The bill was approved by the Delayed Bills Committee for discussion, and was referred to the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee. The purpose of the bill, according to the IBL Committee chair, Rep. George Keiser (R-Bismarck), is to mandate that benefits and access to doctors is “closely approximate” to what PERS members have had with BCBS, and to require that information collected by the Sanford NDPERS Health Plan will be kept apart from Sanford Health and that company’s marketing efforts. Updates on HB 1475 will be provided on our website, at www.ndunited.org, as they happen.
ND United Voices
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BL I C EDUC
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CROSS OVER REPORT FUNDING: House Bill 1003, Division A
Higher Education Funding Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed, 60-32 HB 1003 is the bill to fund higher education for this upcoming biennium, and it was split into two divisions on the House floor in order to try to sink some of the uglier parts of this bill. We all know that there is a sizeable group within the N.D. House that is enraged with the higher education system in North Dakota presently, and they will do everything they can to create chaos within the system. In Division A of HB 1003, they eliminated the attorneys and auditors under the University System office, and hire new positions under the Attorney General’s office to oversee the University System. It passed 60-32. When added together, all of the worst elements of HB 1003 promote division and seem like punitive measures. It changed the funding formula that was developed during the 2013 session in such a way that it decreases the weight that would have been put on completed remedial course hours. In addition the new language changes the institutional size factor. This will punish universities that are rapidly growing their enrollments, such as Williston State College and Mayville State University. Now it will be up to the Senate to right many of these wrongs and return this measure back to something that mirrors the funding formula as reflected in the Governor’s budget.
House Bill 1254
Tax Deduction for Parents with Kids in Private School Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed, 69-24 HB 1254 is a voucher bill which seeks to provide an individual income tax deduction of $5000/child for North Dakota families who enroll their children in private schools. This deduction would only be available for households making less than $120,000/year, or single-income households making less than $60,000/year.
House Bill 1355
Allowing Corporations to Get Tax Credits for Giving Money to Private School Scholarship Fund Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 20-73 HB 1355 sought to allow corporations to receive tax credits for donating to private education foundations. NDU opposed it, and it failed in the House, 20-73.
House Bill 1369
The Forcing the State Bank of N.D. to Use Lower Interest Rates for N.D. Student Loans Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 23-64 HB 1369 is a bill that would reduce the student loan interest rate and we supported its passage. The average student debt in N.D. is among the highest in the U.S. Our bank, the Bank of North Dakota, should charge what it costs to administer student loans and no more. Having kids graduating with high student debt prevents or delays them from engaging in our economy and that is not good for N.D. This bill was defeated by the House, 23-64.
ND United Voices
Kristin Garaas-Johnson and Lori Young of Grand Forks visit with NDU President Nick Archuleta before the hearing on Common Core.
Senate Bill 2031
The Education Funding Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 46-0 SB 2031 is the funding bill submitted to the Education Funding Committee for the 2015-17 biennium. The original price tag for this legislation was $2 billion. We will see what that comes to when all is settled at the end of session. Meanwhile, NDU supported the budget request put forward by the Governor’s office, and this bill largely keeps the spirit of that request intact. It passed the Senate unanimously.
Senate Bill 2151
The Six Million Dollar Early Childhood Funding Bill Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 33-14 SB 2151, if passed, will provide the first-ever state funding for early childhood education that we have had in North Dakota history. Yes, we wish it provided more than just $6 million. Yes, we expressed reservations about the potential for this bill to serve as a segue into a voucher system. But neither of those issues can overshadow the fact that this is landmark legislation. As our NDU President Nick Archuleta said in his testimony, “early childhood education can be the great equalizer that benefits students throughout their academic careers.” This bill passed the Senate by 33-14.
Senate Bill 2254
The Universal Pre-K Funding Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 16-31 SB 2254, which was championed by Sen. Phil Murphy (D-Portland), would have been the more expensive, but better, approach to establishing universal pre-K education, available to all our kids. This approach would have essentially added on pre-K to the existing public school system. This would have cost some money, and there is currently a lot of budget uncertainty in the air. So it failed in the Senate, 16-31.
Senate Bill 2344
The Legacy Foundation Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 16-29 SB 2344 was introduced by the bipartisan pairing of Sen. Mack Schneider, (D-Grand Forks) and Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson), and would have created a Legacy Foundation made up of a diverse group of North Dakota citizens to advise the state and its Legislature on potential uses of the Legacy Fund. Unfortunately this Legislature isn’t looking for that level of formal advice just yet, and the bill was defeated by a vote of 16-29.
NDU President Nick Archuleta testifies before the House Education Committee.
RETIREMENT: House Bill 1080 Amendments
NDPERS Retirement Plan Recovery Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Amendments passed, 62-31 HB 1080 was designed to serve as the fourth and final year of the NDPERS Recovery Plan that was initiated in response to the stock market collapse of 2008 and 2009. It had provisions to increase retirement contributions for active employees by 2 percent, with 1 percent coming from the employee and 1 percent coming from the employer. In addition to these contribution increases, HB 1080 also contained provisions that reduce benefits for future employees. We did not support the benefit reductions, but as a whole, we viewed 1080 as a positive piece of legislation in its initial form. That form did not last, however, as the contribution increases were removed and the benefit reductions were increased. The version of 1080 that passed the House was a very poor piece of legislation that projects a particularly hostile approach to the fine men and women who are our employees of state government.
House Bill 1154
“Let Them Back In” Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 40-51 HB 1154 was narrow in focus. Introduced by Rep. Jessica Haak (D-Jamestown, it sought to help out a small group of state employees who were given told to switch from the defined benefit retirement plan (DB) to a defined contribution retirement plan (DC). Workers Compensation (known today as Workforce Safety and Insurance) was believed, by some, to be headed for privatization. For this reason, many of their employees were warned that if they did not make the switch, that they would lose access to their retirement. This bill would have allowed those individuals to rejoin the DB plan – at no cost to the fund or the taxpayer. HB 1154 came up just 8 votes shy of passing the House. We may have an opportunity to revive this issue in the Senate after Crossover.
House Bill 1339
Exempting Pension Benefits from State Income Tax Bill Position: Support Outcome: Failed, 26-67 Introduced by Rep. Mark Owens (R-Grand Forks), HB 1339 was designed to exempt TFFR’s and NDPERS’s pension and Social Security benefits from state income tax. We didn’t ask for this bill to be drafted, but it’s hard not to support it when it’s there. It failed in the House, 26-67.
Senate Bill 2038
The “Shutdown the State Employee Pension” Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 8-39 SB 2038 represented a clear threat to our members’ retirement security. If passed, it would close the NDPERS defined benefit plan to all future state employees. Instead, new hires would have to settle for a defined contribution plan. When it comes to providing retirement income, defined benefit pensions are more efficient because they pool risks across a large number of individuals, invest over a longer time horizon, and have lower expenses and higher returns. Our state government is facing real challenges in the recruitment and retention of quality employees. Reducing our retirement benefit will make it even harder for the state to recruit highly qualified employees. It would have surely resulted in a wave of retirements and resignations as the future prospect of meaningful salary increases would be threatened by the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by this bill to provide a lesser benefit to future employees. Fortunately, this bill died a grisly death on the Senate floor, 8-39. Thank you to all of our NDU members for calling and messaging your senators, and telling them to vote no on this awful legislation.
RIGHTS: House Bill 1251
K-12 Collective Bargaining Claw-Back Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed, 58-34 HB 1251 was a particularly nasty piece of legislation designed to punish teachers for participating in the process of negotiations with school boards. In its original form, it would eliminate retroactive pay for teachers when contract negotiations go beyond the start of school. This represented a significant departure from the long-held understanding between school boards and teachers that teachers’ hard work during the school day, even in the absence of a negotiated agreement, should be compensated at the correct rate. NDU testimony and messages from NDU members to legislators resulted in the removal of the retroactive pay provision from the bill. The remainder of the bill will change the rules of negotiations by shortening the time teachers have to consider contract offers from 30 days to 14 days. The amended bill passed the House, 58-34.
House Bill 1453
The Student Data Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 47-44 HB 1453 would limit the type of information that could be collected about a student by state agencies, the state assessment administrator and school districts. In addition, it limits the information that may be asked of a student in surveys that a student may take. HB 1453 also prohibits a school that provides electronic devices from tracking a student’s location, monitoring his/her browsing history, scanning or monitoring a student’s biometric information such as posture, facial signs, vital signs, etc. Two of our concerns with this piece of legislation were that it imposes many restrictions on what schools are able to do and would effectively prohibit North Dakota students from participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. We were unsure how this bill would be interpreted. This bill ultimately failed, 47-44.
Senate Bill 2150
The Student Right to Representation Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 45-1 SB 2150 seeks to allow students in the North Dakota University System who are facing suspension or expulsion to have a lawyer or a non-lawyer advocate represent them before a decision-making board or body. NDU supports this right to representation for students, and it passed, 45-1.
Senate Bill 2268
Limiting the Authority of State Employees to Work with Out-of-State Entities Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 8-38 SB 2268 would have prohibited public employees from participating in out-of-state organizations that may result in the potential expenditure of public dollars. This would significantly slow down the ability of our state and political subdivisions to collaborate with similar entities without first gaining legislative approval. The bill died by a vote of 8-38.
Senate Bill 2279
The Anti-Discrimination Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 25-22 SB 2279 is championed by Sen. Carolyn Nelson (D-Fargo) and seeks to add sexual orientation to the reasons for which people cannot be discriminated against, in employment and in housing. NDU always sides with equality and fairness, and against discrimination of any kind, especially in employment. State employees lack this protection, and could be fired for being gay. It was argued that we don’t know how many people have been discriminated against in the process of gaining employment or housing, but there should be a law or policy on the books guaranteeing all men and women this protection. It made it through the Senate by a vote of 25-22.
SAFETY: House Bill 1157
Guns for Legislators at Capitol Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 45-47 HB 1157 was introduced by Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo) and would have allowed elected officials to carry concealed weapons in the state Capitol and other public buildings. Our members have been clear and consistent on issues like this. You have told us, more guns make you feel less safe. NDU testified strongly against this bill in committee, and it was defeated on the House floor, 45-47.
House Bill 1195
Guns for School Employees Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed, 53-38 HB 1195, prime sponsored by Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-Valley City), would allow teachers and other school employees with concealed weapons permits to carry guns at school. We opposed this bill because while we believe teachers are, indeed, superheroes, we do not believe they are a substitute for law enforcement professionals. Better legislation would make grants available to districts who want them to modernize their schools to make them safer and/or to hire school resource offers. We were not alone in our opposition to this bill. Organizations representing our state’s school administrators (NDCEL) and school boards (NDSBA) also spoke against it. The House of Representatives passed HB 1195 by a vote of 53-38.
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House Bill 1428
Requiring State Agencies to Have a Policy in Place to Address Workplace Harassment Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 91-0 HB 1428 is an important piece of legislation, prime-sponsored by NDU member Rep. Josh Boschee (D-Fargo). This bill was drafted at our request and seeks to provide protection from harassment and workplace bullying to all of our state employees. It passed the House of Representatives, 91-0.
SALARY/BENEFITS: House Bill 1244
Allowing Parents Who Adopt to Use Sick Leave to Care for New Child Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 80-13 State employees currently can’t use their sick leave to take care of a newly adopted child. HB 1244, prime sponsored by Rep. Jessica Haak (D-Jamestown), would grant those parents the ability to do so. NDU supported this legislation, and it passed the House rather easily, 80-13.
House Bill 1257
Equal Pay for Men and Women Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 87-0 HB 1257, which was prime sponsored by Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks), would provide updated language regarding gender equity in North Dakota. This bill seeks to ensure that our state’s women and men receive equal pay for equal work. The N.D. House very unanimously passed this bill by a vote of 87-0.
House Bill 1301
The Family Sick Leave Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 34-57 State employees can currently use their sick leave to stay home and care for their spouse, children or parents. HB 1301, brought forward by Rep. Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks), would have expanded that pool to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. This seemed like common-sense legislation; if family needs help, we should allow our state workers the ability to do so. And it failed by a vote of 34-57 in the House.
House Bill 1315
Allowing School Districts to Ignore Salary Schedules Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed, 60-32 HB 1315 will allow school districts to pay off the salary schedule for hardto-fill positions and make that pay permanent. We believe that if you want to make your school district a place where people want to live and work, raise ALL salaries, not just the salaries in hard-to-fill positions. This bill passed by 60-32 in the House.
Senate Bill 2258
The Paid Parental Leave Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 47-0 SB 2258, which is sponsored by Sen. Erin Oban, was initially designed to grant paid family leave to state employees. As she said in her testimony, “Studies from 1989 to 2014 provide substantial evidence that paid leave is good policy not just for the families it benefits, but for their employers as well. In the case of SB 2258, the employer is the state – us – and we get to determine whether or not that business practice is passed on to our employees.” This bill was amended in committee to allow workers to use 12 weeks of their earned leave time for the birth or adoption of a child, and the bill passed the Senate unanimously, 47-0.
Senate Bill 2290
The “Temps” Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed, 16-29 SB 2290 is a bill drafted by Sen. George Sinner (D-Fargo) at the request of NDU that would make full-time temporary workers who have been in their positions for two or more years into full-time employees with the benefits they deserve. This bill failed in the Senate by a vote of 16-29.
TEACHING & LEARNING: House Bill 1461
Anti-Common Core Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 43-46 NDU stood strongly against HB 1461, the bill brought forward by Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) to eliminate Common Core State Standards in North Dakota, and replace them with an I.O.U. (one set of education standards), for many reasons, but chief among them is that it would concentrate the responsibility for making education policy in the Legislature. Professional educators deserve a professional DPI. There was a lot of public attention on this bill, and the debate grew fierce. But the House ultimately divided the bill into two parts, then defeated Division A by a vote of 43-46, and then unanimously struck down Division B.
House Bill 1209
Letting Younger Kids into Kindergarten Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 19-72 HB 1209 would have rolled back the age requirements for enrolling in kindergarten and first grade. Under this bill, children would need to reach the age of five for kindergarten or six for first grade by the first day of the school calendar in the child’s district of enrollment, and not the first day of August of the year of enrollment, as it currently is written into law. Essentially, it would let younger kids into kindergarten. This failed in the House, 19-72.
House Bill 1403
The Sick Leave/Domestic Violence Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed, 89-3 HB 1403 was prime-sponsored by Rep. Mary Schneider (D–Fargo), and would allow state employees suffering from domestic violence to use their accrued sick leave to address their needs related to the abuse. NDU supports this bill because it represents good policy that offers support to our state workers who sacrifice so much for us day in and day out. It is unlikely to cost the state a dime and should help us to retain (and protect) some of our quality employees. It passed the House, 89-3.
Clockwise from left to right: NDU Vice President Gary Feist chats with Bismarck Education Association Government Relations Chair Rebecca Savelkoul. House Education Committee Chair Mike Nathe and NDU President Nick Archuleta get a chance to talk business. NDU Lobbyists Gisele Thorson, Fern Pokorny, and Geoff Greenwood helped with the event. NDU Lobbyist Stuart Savelkoul visits with Representative Andy Maragos. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, and NDU President Nick Archuleta enjoyed the desserts. Representative Pam Anderson chats with Governor Jack Dalrymple and his wife, Betsy.
ND UNITED HOSTS DESSERTS For legislators at the Heritage Center
This year, ND United hosted Desserts for Legislators instead of the usual dinner. The event was held March 9, 2015, at the North Dakota Heritage Center at 6:30 p.m. Since the North Dakota Counties were hosting an earlier event at the Center, legislators were able to attend both events without leaving the building. Live music was provided by the Gefroh Brothers, and the music and desserts drew many legislators to the event.
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$50 Per University Credit!
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Whitewater Learning and the University of North Dakota
teamed up to provide educators in North Dakota a new, easy and affordable way to obtain continuing education credits. Just in time for those North Dakota educators whose state licenses are up for renewal this year, along comes a new, easy-to-use and affordable online option for obtaining the required four semester hours of college credit. The new program costs just $299 for a one-year, unlimited subscription to all course content available from online professional development provider Whitewater Learning, plus a $50 per semester-credit fee charged by program partner, the University of North Dakota. Learners can enroll for up to two credit hours per semester. In essence, the Whitewater/UND program makes professional development more affordable and accessible. Earn the entire state requirement of four semester credits for the one-year, $299 subscription, plus UND's fees. If a district purchases a group subscription the price is considerably less. If you think your district would be interested in this please contact Allen Ralston, the North Dakota representative for Whitewater Learning and he will give you more details. You work at your own pace, and in the place of your choosing. Whitewater Learning supplies more than 60, UND-approved course offerings, with more coming online all the time. Checkout the online library at www.whitewaterlearning.org. Enrolling in the Whitewater/UND continuing education program is quick and easy. Complete 15 clock hours of professional development work with your Whitewater subscription to earn one university graduate level professional development credit from UND to apply to your in-state license renewal requirement. You can start on your own personal professional development plan now at: the Whitewater/UND page at whitewaterlearning.org. A longtime teacher and coach in North Dakota represents Whitewater Learning. His name is Allen Ralston. If you have questions you may reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (320)980-0110. ndunited.org
GOING THE EXTRA MILE
DSU professor nourishes the arts through extracurricular activities By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications
The reputation of Dickinson has long been rugged and tough. It’s a town currently doused in oil, known for roughnecks, long hours in tough conditions, calloused hands and tempered souls. Even before the boom, Dickinson was part of the “Old West” culture. Ranchers with worn-in cowboy boots and jeans, a weathered cowboy hat and dirt on their fingernails are part of the image of the lifestyle in Dickinson. You wouldn’t expect to see a poetry reading pop up in an environment like that. But they do, thanks in large part to individuals who are committed to the literary arts, and spreading awareness of the written word within the community, during what extra time they have. That’s where Dr. Peter Grimes, assistant professor of English at Dickinson State University, and NDU member, comes in. Literature is a flower that requires constant care and attention, especially in a grizzled environment like Dickinson. Grimes acts as a caretaker to those arts, planting seeds, pruning and encouraging their growth within his community by going the extra mile during the hours he’s not teaching in the classroom. Dr. Peter Grimes
Grimes doesn’t have roots in Dickinson, or even in North Dakota. He was born and raised in North Carolina, and developed a love for storytelling early, while crafting stories for his parents or writing short stories with his friends about the detective agency they formed. He would go on to graduate from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology, and then got his master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Florida. He taught as an adjunct at universities in the region of Philadelphia for a while, before continuing his schooling with a Ph.D. in English with a creative dissertation from the University of Cincinnati. “Working there as a graduate student and the publishing I did there, and I did extra extracurricular activities,” he said. “I set up a short-story festival and worked at the Cincinnati Review. All of these experiences really made me a little bit more marketable than I would have been otherwise. And so I applied for a number of positions and I got one here at DSU in 2011, which was really a nice match.” He’s continued his dedication to the extracurricular with his work with the Heart River Writer’s Circle, which is a visiting writers’ series that was first started in the 1990s at DSU. “When I arrived, we had a pretty small budget, but I wanted to continue to offer the same quality programming,” Grimes said. “So what I’ve been doing is really focusing on writers, both in-state and out-of-state, who are willing to spend more of their time here talking to students and then do extra readings around the community.” He says that he doesn’t want to get writers who are there to just read a passage, sign a few books and leave. “I’m looking for someone who is really there to talk about literature and writing,” he said. One of the highlights for Grimes in working with the Heart River Writer’s Circle came in April of 2014, when DSU hosted “Warrior Words,” as part of a statewide effort. “I had a lot of fun and it was very meaningful for me to co-lead a workshop for veterans writing about their experiences,” Grimes said. “It basically meant that a colleague and I sat down with veterans who may or may not have ever tried this sort of writing, and got them to open up about their experiences and put them on paper, and got them to write them in a certain way. And I was really intimated by the challenge I thought it might be … but it turned out very well.”
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Dr. Peter Grimes, bottom right, listens as author Susan Froetschel reads at a Heart River Writers’ Circle Event.
The writer’s circle opens up reading events and workshops to students, but also to the public. “It’s always a challenge to figure out how to reach people in the Oil Patch, and what medium to use,” Grimes admits. And on those occasions when the community is invited to share in the literary experience, it can be both surprising but also satisfying to see what kind of an audience a writer will attract.
course that they need for a degree, but because they really want to learn about the material, and they’re curious about it. That’s an ideal teaching experience.”
Authors of war accounts or Western-themed prose often attract the largest audiences, Grimes said. In fact, it was a reading held for Robin Hutton, a New York Times bestselling author, who wrote “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse” about a war horse that earned two Purple Hearts for service during the Korean War, that made a huge impact on Grimes.
An additional advantage of being involved in the planning and implementation of the entire CommUniversity experience for Grimes is the chance he gets to learn more about subject matters outside of his specialties.
“I worked with the agriculture department here to try to reach a different sort of audience that we usually harbor for Writer’s Circle,” Grimes said. “So we had people who were horse lovers who came in, we had veterans come in, we had people who come to Heart River Writer’s Circle regularly come in. We had the event over in the Agriculture Building, and it was packed. It was a huge audience, and I thought that was a really cool event because it drew people from different places, different populations that, it seems to me, don’t always come together.” Grimes is also responsible each year in organizing CommUniversity, which is a DSU initiative that started in 1980, and uses funds raised from businesses and community partnerships to offer extendedlearning courses to the public each February for a fee of $15. “It’s quite a big undertaking,” Grimes said. “This year for the first time, we surveyed previous participants and donors to get their input on the subjects we were choosing, and I think that made a difference in terms of popularity of the courses.” Grimes said he has to be on the lookout in the community for individuals with a strong knowledge in subject matters that would make for a good course, and recruit them to teach what they know in a classroom setting. “In terms of the benefits,” Grimes said, “I really like to see people who might not even teach for a living get a chance to share something they’re passionate about with an audience who are there, not because they are fulfilling some prerequisite ndunited.org
Courses in the past have dealt with subjects as diverse as German Cooking, Energy Politics, the American Presidency, The Evolution of Clothing, Music of the World, Films of Alfred Hitchcock and (Re)Incarnations of the Vampire in Literature.
“It’s not just the interaction between the community, but the interaction between the departments that I enjoy,” Grimes said. “It’s an opportunity for me to meet in the classroom, people from music, people from the fine arts department, and people from chemistry. It’s kind of like a bridging of the departments.” Experiences outside of the classroom are a big part of the collegiate experience, in Grimes’ view. He encourages students, as well as the entire community of Dickinson, to get out and learn more about subjects of interest to them, whether at a reading, or taking a course in fashion, and in meeting new people and talking to them about your own experiences. “I really believe that one of the biggest values of a liberal arts education comes from extracurricular activities,” Grimes said. “It’s sort of a variation on ‘it’s not the journey, it’s the destination.’ When I went to college, the stuff I remember the most was the extracurricular stuff, random events like the plays put on by students, which had nothing to do with my degree. I think that every one person is busy with their own lives, whether they’re student or faculty. But making an effort to try something new, to try going to a clarinet recital or the Science Olympiad, something you think you might not have any interest in could end up changing the course of your life.” “Support for special programs is important,” he concludes. “It’s essential to the learning environment, and the learning community outside of the classroom.” 29
UP-CLOSE WITH MEMBER BENEFITS NDU hosts statewide tour to tout benefits of membership
Why did U join NDU? What do U get out of being a member? For each of our more than 10,000 members of North Dakota United, our answers are all as different as we are as individuals. We all join for our own reasons. We use our membership differently. Some are members for the advocacy and representation that NDU provides for you and your profession; others may prefer the liability insurance or the member discounts on restaurants, entertainment and travel, insurance policies and home ownership. There are members who have taken advantage of the scholarships and grants available to NDU members and their dependents. Still others use their NDU membership for the professional development opportunities available to them. With these ideas in mind, NDU embarked on a tour of towns across North Dakota this January and February to talk to members about how to maximize their membership through Member Benefits. National Education Association (NEA) Member Benefits expert MaryGrace Lee traveled with NDU staff to visit Grafton, Rolla, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Minot, Bismarck and Dickinson to promote the Member Benefits that all our members receive through NDU and NEA.
NDU President met with the Bismarck Tribune Editorial Board in February.
Archuleta answers questions for the Fargo Forum Editorial Board.
Members were guided through a tour of the NEA Member Benefits site on their laptops and tablets, and were shown how to navigate the site and easily find all of the many discounts available on home, auto and pet insurance, travel, entertainment, car rental, restaurants, school supplies and so much more, as well as professional development opportunities, consumer information and all the information you need about the benefits of membership. Thank you to everyone who braved the cold weather to join us for our Member Benefits events across the state. Stay tuned for more to come!
Archuleta traveled to the Grand Forks Herald for an Editorial Board meeting.
NDU PRESIDENT TRAVELS STATE Attends editorial board meetings
NDU President Nick Archuleta traveled across the eastern part of North Dakota last month meeting with editorial boards at the Grand Forks Herald, the Fargo Forum and the Bismarck Tribune.
NDEA Member Benefits expert MaryGrace Lee toured North Dakota in January and February promoting the Member Benefits members receive.
Discussion topics included such subjects as the NDU Legislative Agenda, Common Core, candidate recommendations, and the Governorâ€™s Budget. Plans are to visit with other editorial boards in the future. ND United Voices
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE LATEST ID THEFT SCAMS Have you heard of “smishing” and “doxing”? If not, find out how to safeguard your personal data from ID thieves’ newest schemes Protecting your identity can feel like a full-time job. You know you shouldn’t give out personal information over the phone, via email or to strangers with sob stories. You think you’ve got your bases covered … until scammers come up with some devious new ways to assume your identity. “There hasn’t been any significant progress in stemming the tide,” says Eva Velasquez, chief executive of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego. “The thieves are getting more savvy in how they’re going to trick you.” The center, which has a hotline for victims of ID theft, lists the top scams of the week (yes, week!) to give the public an idea of what they’re up against. “Not every scam is ID theft,” Velasquez says, “but they can lead to ID theft depending on what information you give them.” One of the regular scams that surfaces during the holidays is the phony website scam. “People get in an online shopping mode and want to get the best deal,” Velasquez says. As you shop around, you may find a product for significantly less at a website that looks legitimate. “It’s not the same as shopping at a brick-and-mortar store,” Velasquez says. “You’re not taking the goods with you.” Experts at the Identity Theft Resource Center recommend checking third-party sites, such as Yelp or the Better Business Bureau, to verify a vendor’s legitimacy. Another recent scam is the “Facebook-at-home” scam.You’re invited to join Facebook’s ndunited.org
“home-based support team,” and you only need to pay $4 to download the necessary materials. But you’ll likely fail to notice that you’re also agreeing to a $94 a month recurring charge on your credit card. In the “one-ring call” scam, scammers use autodialing to ring just once so the call gets logged by your caller ID. When you call back to find out who it was, you’re actually calling an international phone number that’s posing as a legitimate U.S. phone number. While the “operator” keeps you on hold, you’re incurring hefty fees.
Tips to protect yourself—or do damage control
One way to limit the risk from online shopping is to use one credit card – not a debit card – exclusively for online shopping and keep a low credit limit on it. This is much easier to monitor for fraudulent charges. Some credit card issuers also let you set up an email or text alert every time your card is charged so you’ll know immediately if fraudulent charges are being made. If the only information you give to a scammer is your credit card data, then that can be remedied by reporting the incident to your card issuer and getting a replacement card. It’s much more serious if more personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank data, is given. Some scam artists will lure you in to a false website and then try to get more information from you by offering a bonus for taking a survey. This type of information can be used for genuine identity theft, such as opening a new line of credit. One of the most effective tools when this type of information has been exposed is a “credit freeze” with the three credit reporting agencies, which blocks your credit rating from being given out and blocks any additional theft. Of course you don’t want to use this tool if you’re shopping for a new house or car or opening up some other form of credit for yourself. “Thawing” the credit freeze can take some time and requires you to safeguard the PIN given to you at the time you request the freeze. Short of a freeze, the ID Theft Resource Center recommends monitoring your credit report carefully, checking it often to see if there’s been any unauthorized activity. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, you can ask for a free fraud alert, which requires potential lenders to verify your identification before extending credit.
Your tax refund could even be at risk
Many Americans file their taxes electronically, and refunds can be disbursed via mail or direct deposit. Filing via Internet speeds up the refund process—but sometimes it helps crooks get their hands on your cash in record time. That’s because scammers have been stealing the names and Social Security numbers of hard-working, law-abiding citizens and using that information to file bogus digital tax returns to divert refunds to their own accounts. When these ID theft victims file their returns, they’re told by the IRS that their refund already has been sent. At that point, damage control ensues, and it can take victims months to get things straightened out and finally receive their refund. The IRS is working hard to stop ID theft through a series of filters that help flag potentially fraudulent returns. The IRS can adjust the filters each year as more is learned about how the thieves operate. The IRS also has improved its assistance to victims. Those who substantiate their identity and address will be issued an Identity Protection PIN. This unique number must be used in conjunction with the victim’s Social Security Number. The IRS will delay processing of returns filed without this IP PIN to protect taxpayers from being victimized again. However, the sheer scope of the IRS fraud, with millions of cases every year, limits what the agency can do. The IRS filters can identify some cases of fraud, but often enough it will only be when the second filing for a refund, the legitimate one, come is it clear there has been fraud. “A lot can happen in a year,” says Identity Theft Resource Center’s Velasquez. “You change 32
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jobs, you move, dependents grow up and leave home. Unless we want to tell the IRS everything we do, they have no way of telling if slightly different information is suspicious.” As with most other ID theft risks, it’s ultimately a tradeoff between convenience and security. For instance, paying directly at the gas pump with a bank card is convenient, even though there’s a growing risk of “skimming”—when ID thieves surreptitiously install a device in the credit card swiper that records your data. Even though it can be a hassle, paying the cashier directly is safer.
3 more ID theft scams to look out for
In addition to these scams, here are a few more burgeoning forms of ID theft. Smishing. This is a twist on the more familiar “phishing,” which is done via email. Smishing involves SMS text messages sent to your cellphone. The scam has become more common as smartphone use increases. The texts can be quite convincing; some even use the name of a friend or relative. The goal is to get you to click on a link that will download malware to your phone. Most people have anti-virus software on their personal computers or laptops, but very few have this kind of protection on their smartphones. Also useful are the backup and wiping programs available from wireless providers that save your data on their servers and wipe your phone if it’s lost, stolen or compromised.
According to consulting firm Javelin Strategy and Research, consumers should avoid revealing personal details used as identifying tools in financial accounts, such as their alma mater’s name, their mother’s maiden name, their pet’s name and so on. Public Wi-Fi. Most people are aware of the risk posed by these types of Internet connections, but many may not realize how easy and prevalent it is for ID thieves to access your data. When you sign on to a Wi-Fi in a café or airport, you’re connected to everyone else on the network, and they have access to your data even if your computer is password-protected. Don’t do any online shopping that includes your credit card information while logged on to a public Wi-Fi. One remedy is to download a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your private data sealed off from the public network. The ID Theft Resource Center, which was founded in 1999 by an ID theft victim and is funded by sponsors and partners, has a hotline for victims at 1-888-400-5530. More information on latest trends in ID theft is available at idtheftcenter.org. (Note: This article was updated in September 2014.)
Doxing. This new term, derived from “document tracing,” is the Internet version of social engineering. ID thieves have become adept at piecing together your information from social networking sites, then using it to elicit more personal data.
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MARK YOUR CALENDARS Attend NDU’s Delegate Assembly Greetings, Friends. This article consists of important information to encourage your engagement and to keep you up-to-date. By Gloria Lokken ND United Retired President
Election Information: Following are the election sections from the North Dakota United-Retired By-laws. The election will be held at the NDU Delegate Assembly on April 18, and only the retired delegates to the NDU Delegate Assembly may vote. This year we will elect the NDURetired President and one member from the Southeast Region. ARTICLE III
ELECTION PROCEDURES AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Executive Officers The NDU – Retired Executive Officers/Committee shall include the President, Vice President and Secretary. Elections will be held at the same time as the NDU elections. Voting shall be restricted to the NDU – Retired delegates. Each officer will serve for a 3 year term and is eligible to serve for 2 full terms.
Duties: 1. Chair all meetings of the Advisory Council and general membership whether regional or statewide 2. Be responsible for the preparation(s) of the agenda for any meeting of this organization 3. point members and chairperson(s) to any ad hoc committee needed with the consent of the Executive Committee 4. Official spokesperson for the NDU – Retired or shall designate a representative 5. Perform all other duties and functions attributed to this office 6. Serve as a delegate to the NEA-RA and the NEA-Retired 7. Serve as a member on the NDU Board of Directors
B. Vacancy: A vacancy in the office of the President shall be filled by the Vice President only until the next NDU election. 34
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Retired Advisory Council A.
Composition, Election and Terms of Office: The NDU – Retired Advisory Council shall be comprised of; President, Vice President, Secretary, four regional directors, one alternate from each region of the NDU – Retired membership. The election of the Advisory Council will be in a staggered three year rotation according to the following schedule:
Year 1: Elect President and SE Region
Year 2: Elect Vice President and NW and NE Regions
Year 3: Elect Secretary and SW Region
The election shall follow the same guidelines as the NDU election with the following exceptions: 1. Candidates for NDU Retired offices must notify NDU by March 15th of their intent to run for office. 2. There is no 50-signature petition requirement.
Duties: 1. Provide leadership in carrying out the objectives of the organization and shall partner with NDU in the operation of the NDU – Retired program. 2. Carry out such duties as the President or the Advisory Council itself may delegate.
Vacancies: The NDU – Retired Advisory Council shall be authorized to fill vacancies only until the next NDU election.
NDU-Retired Delegate Assembly Delegates:
NDU-Retired are allowed 10 delegates to the April 18, 2015, Delegate Assembly in Bismarck. Interested retired members must call 1-800-369-6332 and ask for Kathy to request a retired delegate position.
Getting the facts and keeping current:
Please join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/417551328340388/. We want to hear from you. Also like the North Dakota United page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ndunited. You will be informed of the latest happenings of our organization. And, of course, you must also check www.ndunited.org often to keep up with the 2015 Legislature and all the work of NDU.
Now is the time:
Membership in NDU-Retired is always open. Please talk to your colleagues retiring this year and sign them up for NDU/ NEA/AFT-Retired. The form is at the bottom of this page — we make it so easy! You have the information, you have the skills, and you have the interest — get involved!
YES, SIGN ME UP NOW IN NDU/NEA/AFT-RETIRED Complete and mail with your check today to NDU-Retired, 301 N 4th St, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020 Name: _______________________________________Social Security Number: __________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________________ State: ______________ Zip: ______________ Phone: ______________________________E-mail:_________________________________________ Local Association: __________________________Signature: _______________________Date: ______ _______ I wish to join as Annual Retired and pay $52 per year. Mail this form and your check to NDU, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020. (NDU membership year is from Sept. 1 to August 31.) _______ I wish to pay a one-time payment of $412 for Lifetime Retired. Expected Date of Retirement ___________ (month/year) _______ I wish to pay one payment of $52 and have 9 (nine) electronic transfers of $40 from my bank account for Lifetime Retired. ndunited.org
B LI C E D U C
E BLIC S
North Dakota United 301 N 4th St Bismarck, ND 58501-4020
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