Serving the public every step of the way!
VOL. 2 NO. 5
OBAN NAMED NDU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FINAL 2015 LEGISLATIVE REPORT DICKINSON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WINS AGAIN! ndunited.org
BL I C EDUC AT I
DUES CREDIT TRUST HELPS YOU MAKE YOUR PAY GO FURTHER
OBAN NAMED NDU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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MAY 2015 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
North Dakota United (NDU) welcomed Chad Oban as its new Executive Director in May. “Chad Oban brings to NDU a deep understanding of the vitally important impact that teachers and public employees have on the lives of every North Dakotan,” said NDU President Nick Archuleta. “Oban has friends on both sides of the aisle at the Capitol and has a proven record of working with them to achieve important goals for our state. We are very enthusiastic about having Oban on board as our new Executive Director.”
Why not control your paycheck and earn interest on your money? NDU’s Dues Credit Trust has been helping members since 1981 develop better budgeting techniques and giving them an opportunity to earn interest on their salary as they earn it. The interest they earn is generally higher than what an individual can earn because of the “investing power” of association members joining together to reach a common goal – earning a higher rate of return on their salary while balancing their paycheck over 12 months.
NDU WAS SUCCESSFUL IN MOST 2015 LOBBYING EFFORTS
FIRST-OF-ITS KIND ND UNITED MEMBER ADVOCACY CONFERENCE
NDU ELECTS BOARD MEMBERS AND CONDUCTS YEARLY BUSINESS
North Dakota United had some noteworthy accomplishments. North Dakota now will have an early childhood education program. We worked hard to protect and enhance members’ salaries and workplace rights; we were absolutely committed to stopping a very damaging and retaliatory piece of legislation designed to undermine collective bargaining for K-12 teachers; we have fought to protect the funding and governance of higher education; we were the driving force in ensuring that state pensions remain secure; we stopped in its tracks yet another back-door voucher bill that would have diverted public dollars to private schools; we have worked to make sure that public employees have access to their hard-earned leave when they need it, especially to welcome a newborn or newly adopted child or to care for an elderly or sick parent.
Labeled a huge success! Approximately 160 members from across the state attended the North Dakota United Member Advocacy Conference at Bismarck’s Ramkota Inn on March 27-28, 2015. “The idea of an all-member advocacy conference came from my desire to bring together members from each of NDU’s constituency groups in one place to discuss issues important to all of us,” said NDU President Nick Archuleta. It is important that as we merge the cultures of the two predecessor organizations, we create opportunities to meet as one unified organization.”
The North Dakota United Delegate Assembly was held on April 17-18, 2015. Friday night’s registration and social were at Bismarck’s Ramada Hotel and the Delegate Assembly continued the next day, April 18, at Bismarck State College, in the National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE). The Myron Johnson/ Nathan Goodiron American Legion Post 271 from Mandaree presented the Flags and served as Color Guards, and 100 delegates from around the state heard guest speakers Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
ND United Voices
NDU ATTAINS MANY 2015 LEGISLATIVE VICTORIES Some items remain unsettled after adjournment About two years ago, the North Dakota Education Association and the North Dakota Public Employees Association merged to create North Dakota United. I’ve often been asked since then, “What is North Dakota United?” I think the better question is, “WHO is North Dakota United?” We are approximately 11,300 men and women who serve the citizens of North Dakota, every step of the way. We are the K-12 educators and education support professionals who teach, feed and assist our children. We are administrative assistants who make our state agencies function, health-care professionals who care for our elderly, social workers who help those in most need, snow-plow operators who clear our roads, tax auditors who balance our state’s books, and physical plant specialists who maintain our state’s infrastructure. Though our responsibilities differ, our commitment to North Dakota never waivers. We provide the vital services our state needs, and we do it better and more cost effectively than anywhere in America. By Nick Archuleta NDU President
While legislators were paid for that final day and for their trips back home, PERS’ ability to carry out their mission is uncertain at best and compromised at worst.”
Our commitment to serve was on display throughout the 2015 Legislative Session. North Dakota United, working with our friends in the Legislature, accomplished a great deal. North Dakota will now have an early childhood education program. We worked hard to protect and enhance members’ salaries and workplace rights; we were absolutely committed to stop a very damaging and retaliatory piece of legislation designed to undermine collective bargaining for K-12 teachers; we have fought to protect the funding and governance of higher education; we were the driving force to ensure that state pensions remain secure; we have worked to make sure that public employees have access to their hard-earned leave when they need it, especially to welcome a newborn or newly adopted child, or to care for an elderly or sick parent. While we achieved some victories, more work remains thanks to the way the Legislature left town. The session ended on a sour note when the Legislature adjourned without agreeing to a budget for the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The whole issue pertained to PERS switching insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Sanford. After going back and forth in both Houses, the Senate was willing to call a Conference Committee and actually sat and waited for House Conference Committee members. They never showed. Instead, the House adjourned. Thus, the Senate had no choice but to adjourn after a day of doing no business. This is a first in state history. It is also an egregious failure of leadership that is not in keeping with our state’s long-held traditions of common sense compromise and responsible government. It costs North Dakota taxpayers between $70,000 and $77,000, not including travel and lodging, just to have legislators in the Capitol for a day. While legislators were paid for that final day and for their trips back home, PERS’ ability to carry out their mission is uncertain at best and compromised at worst. North Dakota United will be watching to see what, if anything, the Legislature plans to do next. Our members, many of whom are your friends, neighbors, and family members, are counted on to do the very best they can to provide the vital services North Dakotans depend on every day. We have the right to expect the same effort of our legislators.
OBAN NAMED NDU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Excited about working with staff and members By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications
North Dakota United (NDU) welcomed Chad Oban as its new Executive Director in May. “Chad Oban brings to NDU a deep understanding of the vitally important impact that teachers and public employees have on the lives of every North Dakotan,” said NDU President Nick Archuleta. “Oban has friends on both sides of the aisle at the Capitol and has a proven record of working with them to achieve important goals for our state. We are very enthusiastic about having Oban on board as our new Executive Director.”
Chad Oban Executive Director
Oban says he is excited about becoming the Executive Director of an 11,000-member organization and working with a tremendous staff that stands up for teachers and public employees every day throughout the state. “As a product of public schools and growing up the son of two public school educators, I understand the sacrifice and the importance of public sector employees to communities across North Dakota,” he said. “My respect for NDU and its members is endless and has been for a long time. NDU is an organization that has the primary goal of making North Dakota a better place for our kids, our teachers, our public employees and all citizens. As a person who cares deeply about North Dakota and its future, I could not be more honored than to join the NDU team.” A Bismarck native, Oban was raised by two public educators. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. According to Oban, he has been working in the field of public policy and state politics for almost two decades. Oban’s first political experience was at age eight when he went door to door campaigning with his late father, State Rep. Bill Oban.
My respect for NDU and its members is endless and has been for a long time.”
As a lobbyist, Oban has lobbied the North Dakota Legislature on issues ranging from healthcare to renewable energy; he also worked with coalitions in lobbying and promoting causes to North Dakota’s congressional delegation. As a political consultant, he has worked for candidates running for city commission and all the way up to presidential candidates. In 2012, Oban used his experience as a lobbyist and political consultant to manage what has been described as “the largest and most politically diverse coalition in the state’s history” to defeat Measure 2, which would have eliminated all property taxes. The coalition was comprised of more than 80 groups ranging from conservatives to liberals, business to labor, rural and urban interests. The “Keep It Local” coalition successfully defeated Measure 2 with 76 percent of the vote. From 2013 to 2015, Oban served as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. While Democrats across the nation struggled in the 2014 midterm elections, North Dakota was one of seven states to see Democrats gain seats in their legislature and the only state in the Midwest to do so. Oban was named in 2011 to Business Watch’s “40 Under 40” list. He lives in Bismarck with his wife, Erin, who is Executive Director of Tobacco Free North Dakota and a state Senator.
ND United Voices
DUES CREDIT TRUST HELPS YOU MAKE YOUR PAY GO FURTHER If you haven’t heard about this NDU program, contact the Help Center Why not control your paycheck and earn interest on your money? NDU’s Dues Credit Trust has been helping members since 1981 develop better budgeting techniques and giving them an opportunity to earn interest on their salary as they earn it. The interest they earn is generally higher than what an individual can earn because of the “investing power” of association members joining together to reach a common goal – earning a higher rate of return on their salary while balancing their paycheck over 12 months. A participant whose salary is taken on a nine-month basis can invest a portion of each check in the Dues Credit Trust Program. The Trust will then deposit three electronic checks into the member’s bank account during the summer months. Why let your employer use your money when it can be invested and earning a higher rate of interest for you? The program offers a great deal of individual flexibility. There are programs designed for members paid on an 8-, 9-, 10- or 12-month basis. A special investor program can be tailored to an individual’s personal financial situation. The August deposit will include interest earnings. From that check, NDU will automatically deduct any dues and a $10 service charge. The plan begins October 1 of each year. All investments are handled through members’ personal checking accounts. They are not payroll deducted by the employer. The funds received by the Dues Credit Trust are invested in U.S. government securities, FDIC-insured certificates of deposit, money market funds comprised exclusively of U.S. government securities, and in the Bank of North Dakota. To enroll, contact the NDU office at 701-223-0450 or 1-800-369-6332, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help to enroll you. ndunited.org
I became a member of the Dues Credit Trust as soon as (NDU) provided the service. My reasons for staying in the DCT program are many – I like the interest on my money going into my dues rather than into the school district interim fund; I like getting three checks from NDU in the summer; I like having my earned-interest pay a big chunk of my dues for the next year; I like knowing the Dues Credit Trust Program helps NDU financially. NDU membership allows me access to some of the best minds in education, helps direct my profession and public education, and protects my employee rights. Knowing what I receive for my dues dollar, I consider my membership dues a great bargain. DCT makes membership an even better deal! Mike Porter, Dakota College at Bottineau 5
GEFROH AND BEA WIN THEIR FIGHT Sick leave granted to long-time member of NDU By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications “When you’ve faced death as many times as I have, this stuff doesn’t really scare you.” So said Scott Gefroh, a teacher at Horizon Middle School in Bismarck and long-time member of the Bismarck Education Association, after having fought an extended fight with Bismarck Public Schools over his use of 26 days of sick leave from a Sick Leave Bank set up in the negotiated agreement, signed between BPS and BEA. Gefroh’s saga began with repeated stays in the hospital because of a defective heart valve that was first diagnosed in 2003. He has had to endure repeated open-heart surgeries. In 2013, he was essentially told by his doctor at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., while considering whether to go for yet another open-heart operation, that the better option might be to go home to be with loved ones and enjoy what little time would be left.
Scott Gefroh Teacher - Horizon Middle School
I cannot emphasize how important it was for Scott to take a stand on this issue,” said Mike Geiermann, NDU general counsel and Gefroh’s attorney. “Teachers sometimes have unfortunate and unfair issues thrust upon them in both their professional and personal lives. Some stand up and confront them; some don’t. Scott took a stand. He had no fear.”
Gefroh, though, is a fighter. He fought through all of these surgeries, including the procedure in 2013, which he chose to undergo despite overwhelming odds that his body couldn’t handle another rigorous surgery of that magnitude. He fought that battle, and he won. He survived, recuperated and came back home, to continue teaching and living every day to its fullest. While in the hospital, though, Gefroh received papers from the BPS school district indicating that he must file for disability before he could receive the final 26 days from the District’s sick leave bank. Gefroh was covered under a contract negotiated by the District and BEA. That contract contained a Sick Leave Bank provision since 1998. There is nothing in the contract that states that a person must file for disability to receive the sick leave. The Sick Leave Bank Committee, consisting of three volunteers selected by the District’s human resources manager and the president of BEA, had already accepted Gefroh’s application for a maximum of 80 sick leave bank days. With 26 days left to be paid to Gefroh, the District and Superintendent Tamara Uselman insisted that he must file for disability before he could receive the rest of his sick leave. “I cannot emphasize how important it was for Scott to take a stand on this issue,” said Mike Geiermann, NDU general counsel and Gefroh’s attorney. “Teachers sometimes have unfortunate and unfair issues thrust upon them in both their professional and personal lives. Some stand up and confront them; some don’t. Scott took a stand. He had no fear.” Gefroh decided to grieve Superintendent Uselman’s denial of his access to the Sick Leave Bank. Right out of the gate, though, the grievance got tied up in court, as the District pushed to have the grievance held in front of a local arbitrator. Under the terms of the contract, BEA and BPS have three options for arbitration: one local and two national. The intention of the contract is for both sides to come to agreement on one arbitrator, and if they cannot, to each strike one option, and proceed with the arbitrator still left standing. ND United Voices
On Dec. 8, 2014, District Judge Bruce Haskell found that the District had refused to arbitrate, and the District was ordered to strike one of the arbitrators from the list of three, the BEA would be allowed to strike one of the arbitrators, and the remaining arbitrator would hear the case. Thus, Sharon Gallagher from the American Arbitration Association was chosen to arbitrate. The two sides went to arbitration in April of this year, and on April 10, Gallagher ruled that the District violated the negotiated agreement and past practice when Gefroh’s application for sick leave was denied. Further, she ruled that the District shall make Scott Gefroh whole in pay and all benefits (including but not limited to pension and health insurance) for the 26 days of approved Sick Bank Leave days that Uselman refused to pay Gefroh. In accordance with the proven past practice, the District was also directed to cease and desist from insisting that Gefroh apply for disability benefits. “Throughout this often heart-wrenching process, North Dakota United has supported the efforts of Mr. Gefroh and the Bismarck Education Association,” said NDU President Nick Archuleta. “In Bismarck and in every other school district, contracts represent the best intentions of both sides to codify respectful and reasonable terms and conditions of employment. Since 1998, the Sick Leave Bank provision has been in the Negotiated Agreement in Bismarck and serves an important purpose.”
Board member Karl Lembke was the lone vote in opposition to rejecting the arbitrator’s findings. “I’m not going to support the motion, but I do agree that there are some things about the arbitrator’s decision that I certainly do not agree with ... there’s a lot of gray areas, there’s a lot of things we need to work on as a school administration and with the BEA to make this clearer so this doesn’t happen again. And I hope that that can be done while supporting the award at the end, and move it forward.” The board voted 4-1 on its first motion, to reject the arbitrator’s findings, and then voted 5-0 to “grant the grievant the 26 days of sick leave that was requested.” “I’m just happy it’s all over,” said Gefroh. “To me, it says everything about why all teachers should be part of North Dakota United. I feel like we should all be part of North Dakota United because of the professionalism of the whole system, the whole staff, and the professionalism of a guy by the name of Mike Geiermann who, if you weren’t a member, you wouldn’t have that luxury. You’d have to seek it out, yourself.”
Since 1998, no superintendent has unilaterally inserted him or herself into the decision-making processes of the Sick Leave Bank committee, Archuleta noted. “This is because previous superintendents have understood that the contract does not provide the authority for them to do so. This is a fact not lost on Mr. Gefroh, North Dakota United or Arbitrator Gallagher. With this ruling, teachers in Bismarck can be assured that the Sick Leave Bank will be there for them in their time of great need.” Following arbitration, the matter needed to be resolved by the Bismarck School Board. And so, on the evening of April 27, the school board met to give their ruling on the arbitration judgment and the subject of awarding Gefroh his 26 days of sick leave.
Scott Gefroh, right, talks to a reporter outside of the Bismarck School Board meeting at the City-County Building on April 27.
The School Board voted to reject the arbitrator’s findings, but in turn voted to grant Gefroh the full 26 days of sick leave from the Sick Leave Bank that he had requested. Board member Matt Sagsveen made the motion to reject the arbitrator’s findings. “I don’t necessarily agree with the results. So I move that, if my motion to reject the arbitrator’s decision were to pass, I would move that we separately grant the sick leave, but reject the decision,” Sagsveen said. “I’m concerned about the breadth of the decision, as it relates to the superintendents’ authority under the negotiated agreement. It goes beyond the issue that was raised, and was presented to the arbitrator. And, potentially it could have effects that could go beyond directing this issue of sick leave.” ndunited.org
Bismarck School Board members in session at their meeting on April 27.
STUDENTS WEIGH IN ON TEACHERS’ SUMMER ACTIVITIES Perception is not always reality
By Karen Christensen Vice President of Education
Learning doesn’t take a vacation and neither should your professional growth. We encourage our students to keep skills sharp over the summer by being involved in activities that use the skills they have learned during the school year. As promoters of lifelong learning, our summers involve developing the skills we need to enhance our lessons during the next school year.”
A teacher, who was wrapping up the school year, decided she’d like to know how teachers spent their summer break. So, she asked the students to write down their ideas, and here are some of the results, as printed on the website, teachhub.com: • Teachers go to the beach, but hide behind other people or bury themselves in the sand whenever they see their students. • Teachers dream about next year’s class, and hope they will not be annoying. • Teachers keep track of the days until school starts again because they miss it so much. • Teachers take down student papers, look at them one by one, and cry their eyes out because they are going to miss their class. • Teachers figure out a theme for next year, get supplies, and decorate the classroom in the theme. • Teachers relax on a secret island where there are no kids! • Teachers have a big party celebrating the end of school! Hopefully you are laughing at some of these perceptions of how students think teachers spend their summers. I found some truth in the statements that the students made, but was brought to the reality that not just our students are unaware of the value of summer break, but many adults have similar perceptions. Listening to statements such as “It must be nice to have summers off,” or “Real adults work year-round” makes my hair stand up. At times I enter the debate about putting in 50 to 60 hour weeks without overtime and wearing the many hats that are needed to educate students. More times than not, I offer them the same opportunity that I have and explain how I went to college summers and nights to be able to be an integral part of this great profession. Sharing the professional growth opportunities I am involved in during the year allows the students to hear and see that learning does not stop when you are handed a diploma. When I complete a professional book, I share the ideas that I read about with my students and ask if they would like to be involved in the activity. My summers involve national conventions, regional meetings, classes, workshops and union activities. I take time to reconnect with family and rejuvenate. As this school year ends, I look back and celebrate the successes of the class and note projects that didn’t meet the challenges set. Our profession has become very goal-driven. Our school year now has common standards that meet the needs of our students consistently across the country. Learning the strategies and activities that meet those standards is important to be successful as an educator. Learning doesn’t take a vacation and neither should your professional growth. We encourage our students to keep skills sharp over the summer by being involved in activities that use the skills they have learned during the school year. As promoters of lifelong learning, our summers involve developing the skills we need to enhance our lessons during the next school year. Thank you for all you do for our students! Time to relax, renew, refresh and get ready for next fall!
ND United Voices
Public Service Perspectives
WORKERS STAND TOGETHER IN MEXICO CITY NDU represented at global trade union federation
One of North Dakota United’s two national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is a member of Public Services International (PSI), which is a global trade union federation that brings together more than 20 million workers, and represents 669 unions from 154 countries and territories. PSI, through the voices of its members, works throughout the world in campaigns to achieve social and economic justice, quality public services for all, collective bargaining and a strong, united union movement. PSI’s public sector workers include school support personnel, nurses, and state and local government employees. The PSI advocates for the same issues that we face here in North Dakota as NDU members, only on a larger, world-wide scale. Recently I had the opportunity and honor to attend PSI’s regional conference of the InterAmericas, IAMRECON, in Mexico City. Public employees throughout the Americas are experiencing many challenges in their working and daily lives stemming from the economic downturn, which started in 2008. Public employee trade union rights such as collective bargaining and public pensions have been under attack throughout the region that includes our union brother and sisters in AFT and National Education Association (NEA) affiliates in Wisconsin, Illinois and New Mexico, to name a few. Tax justice and fair trade agreements were two issues discussed at the IAMRECON. Tax justice is important in the fight against privatization and is key to improving societies and economic growth. The Inter-Americas region is no different than the U.S., where union affiliates are fighting for fair and progressive taxation policies. The Inter-Americas region includes multiple tax havens, which are used by companies and individuals to avoid paying taxes. Through the use the tax havens, corporations and individuals shift their earnings to countries where they can reduce or eliminate their tax liability resulting in an estimated loss of $150 billion to the US federal government each year. The reduction in revenue in the U.S. and other countries in the region is causing essential public services to be cut. PSI will continue to work with its affiliates to advocate for tax policies that promote tax justice and enable the delivery of quality public services to everyone.
By Gary Feist Vice President of Public Employees
Participating in this conference was a great opportunity to meet other public employees from North America, South America, the Caribbean and others throughout the region who are concerned about the same issues we face in North Dakota.”
The conference included a rally against unfair trade agreements that included the Trade in Service Agreement (TISA), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). PSI and all unions are not opposed to trade, so long as it is done fairly. These agreements negatively impact economic growth and continue the trends of increasing income inequality, and stagnate and declining wages. Participating in this conference was a great opportunity to meet other public employees from North America, South America, the Caribbean and others throughout the region who are concerned about the same issues we face in North Dakota. We must work together to ensure that all employees have safe working conditions, the right to collectively bargain, and that essential public services are provided to all citizens. Workers with a united voice throughout the world and here in North Dakota will accomplish great things. ndunited.org
North Dakota Representative Jon Nelson of Rugby visits with North Dakota Senator Erin Oban of Bismarck.
NDU WAS SUCCESSFUL IN MOST 2015 LOBBYING EFFORTS Without you our efforts would have been meaningless By Nick Archuleta, NDU President
Frequent readers of this magazine will remember a quote from Pericles that I referenced just prior to the beginning of the 64th Session of the ND State Legislature:
Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you.”
Well, Pericles was right, and the ND Legislature did take an interest in you. As you will see in the NDU Legislative Report that follows my remarks, there were many issues important to ND United members that were addressed by the Legislature. In most cases, your lobbyists were successful in their efforts to affect legislation dealing with our issues. Still, we feel that there are some things that we would have liked to accomplish but for a variety of reasons, we did not. Your lobby team, Stuart Savelkoul, Jane Rupprecht, Fern Pokorny and I, attended hundreds of hours of hearings and testified on dozens of bills. When the action at the Legislature was at its heaviest, Geoff Greenwood and Gisele Thorson joined the team to make sure we had people at every pertinent hearing. North Dakota United had some noteworthy accomplishments. North Dakota now will have an early childhood education program. We worked hard to protect and enhance members’ salaries and workplace rights; we were absolutely committed to stopping a very damaging and retaliatory piece of legislation designed to undermine collective bargaining 10
ND United Voices
Michelle Bertsch from Davies High School in Fargo testified how important Common Core was to her students.
NDU President Nick Archuleta testifies before the House Education Committee.
NDU Lobbyists Stuart Savelkoul, President Archuleta, UniServ Director Fern Pokorny and Attorney Michael Geiermann wait to testify on a bill.
Representative Andy Maragos of Minot visits with NDU Assistant Executive Director Stuart Savelkoul during the NDU Social at the Heritage Center.
for K-12 teachers; we have fought to protect the funding and governance of higher education; we were the driving force in ensuring that state pensions remain secure; we stopped in its tracks yet another back-door voucher bill that would have diverted public dollars to private schools; we have worked to make sure that public employees have access to their hard-earned leave when they need it, especially to welcome a newborn or newly adopted child or to care for an elderly or sick parent. Still, our efforts would have been meaningless without you. On behalf of all our members, I want to thank those of you who responded quickly and decisively to our Action Alerts and contacted your legislators and made your voices heard. Throughout this session, while sitting in any number of hearings, I found myself playing a little game in my head called, “What If ?” What if 1,000 members made 1,000 more connections to their legislators? What if, in the last election, 1,000 more members voted for pro-public education and pro-public employee candidates in their legislative districts? What if 1,000 more of our members got involved in the work necessary to elect our friends, both Democratic and Republican, to the legislature? What ndunited.org
if 1,000 members had one or two conversations with a single potential NDU member? What if we had 1,000 new ND United members? What would the legislative landscape look like then? I believe that the answer is that the legislative landscape would look quite different. Our struggle to enact legislation that positively impacts the lives of all North Dakotans would be easier. I believe that we would have more people at the table trying to find solutions for the challenges we face instead of trying to score points by promoting tired, outdated ideologies. And I believe that the Legislature would not leave town until their work was finished because they would understand that their individual egos are not as important as doing the people’s business. In short, more members, more engagement, more conversation and more work on our common interests will be a very good thing for ND United and for all North Dakotans. I am excited by what we’ve accomplished, but I am mindful of the challenges that we still face. With your help, your involvement and your proven commitment to the people of North Dakota, ND United will remain a strong force in making our state an even better place in which to live and work. 11
FUNDING: House Bill 1003 Higher Education Funding Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed House 67-23, Passed Senate 45-2 - Win HB 1003 was the bill to fund higher education for this upcoming biennium. And while it represents the largest investment in higher education that North Dakota has ever seen, we have some concerns regarding the level of funding that some universities will receive. The legislative intent was to provide university employees with 3 percent salary increases during each year of the biennium.
House Bill 1223 Personal and Corporate Income Tax Cut Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed House 69-24, Failed Senate 13-33 - Win HB 1223 represented a $152 million income tax cut for North Dakota. While many people do not necessarily enjoy paying their state income taxes, the truth is the rates in our state are among the lowest in the nation and the revenue from income taxes is used to fund our schools and our public services. Although the House was able to achieve more than $100 million in cuts through another bill, we appreciated the Senate’s willingness to reject a tax cut that nobody is asking for. House Bill 1254 Tax Deduction for Parents with Kids in Private School Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed House 67-25, Failed Senate 22-24 - Win HB 1254 was a voucher bill, which sought 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 have been available for households making less than $120,000/year, or single-income households making less than $60,000/year. House Bill 1476 Tax Cut for Oil Companies Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed House 66-26, Passed Senate 32-15 - Loss HB 1476 was introduced as a delayed bill on Day 70 of the Legislative Session. Low oil prices had been a source of concern for many legislators worried about the impact of the “Big Trigger,” which would go into effect if oil prices stayed below $52/barrel for five straight months. In an effort to reform the trigger without offending the oil industry, the passage of HB 1476 will effectively reduce the oil extraction tax in North Dakota from 6.5 percent to 5 percent. This represents a 23 percent tax cut for oil companies and could result in the loss of billions in revenue for our state. Regardless of the fiscal impact of HB 1476, it should be widely agreed that the bill deserved more scrutiny than the five days that the Legislature took before passing it. Senate Bill 2001 State Employee Salary Amendment Position: Supported Outcome: Amendment failed Senate 16-31 - Loss SB 2001 was the bill meant to appropriate funding to the offices of the Governor and the Lt. Governor. It’s real relevance to the 2015 Legislative Session was that it was the first agency appropriation bill to feature the salary compromise that resulted in the Executive Budget’s 4 percent and 4 percent recommendation being reduced to a 3 percent and 3 percent. Some members of the Senate supported an amendment that would have increased the second year’s pay increase from 3 percent to 5 percent, if state revenues come in 5 percent or more above projections.
ND United Voices
Senate Bill 2013 Appropriation for Foundation Aid Program and DPI Position: Supported Outcome: Passed Senate 47-0, Passed House 87-3 - Win SB 2013 was the funding bill for the foundation aid program, the mentoring program, Regional Education Associations, and provides grants to fund English Language Learner programs, civics education, national board certification, rapid enrollment, special education contracts to name a few. It also funds the Department of Public Instruction including salaries. Funding these programs is vital to education in North Dakota. Senate Bill 2031 The Education Funding Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed Senate 47-0, Passed House 86-4 - Win SB 2031 was the funding bill submitted to the Education Funding Committee for the 2015-17 biennium. The original price tag for this legislation was over $2 billion and called for greater than 3 percent increases in the funding formula. After months of debate and the House pushing a funding formula that would provide just 2 percent increases, reason won out and the 3 percent increases for each year of the funding formula were restored. Senate Bill 2151 The Three Million Dollar Early Childhood Funding Bill Position: Support Outcome: Passed Senate 33-14, Passed House 50-41 – Win With the passage of SB 2151, North Dakota will finally provide the state funding for early childhood education for the first time in our state’s history. Yes, we wish it provided more than just $3 million (the Senate supported $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 was 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.” Senate Bill 2254 The Universal Pre-K Funding Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed Senate 16-31 - Loss 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 Senate 16-29 - Loss SB 2344 was introduced by the bipartisan pairing of Sen. Mack Schneider (D-Grand Forks) and Sen. Kelly Armstrong ndunited.org
(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.
RETIREMENT: House Bill 1080 Bill and Amendments NDPERS Retirement Plan Recovery Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Amendments passed House 62-31, Failed Senate 14-33 - Win 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. Thankfully, the Senate wisely rejected the measure. House Bill 1154 “Let Them Back In” Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed House 40-51 – “Temporary Setback” 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. However, the provisions of HB 1154 were ultimately included as an amendment to the OMB Appropriation. Senate Bill 2038 The “Shutdown the State Employee Pension” Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed Senate 8-39 - Win 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 13
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 House 58-34, Passed Senate 28-17 - Loss 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. House Bill 1453 The Student Data Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed House 47-44 - Win HB 1453 sought to 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 tried to limit the information that may be asked of a student in surveys that a student may take. HB 1453 would also have prohibited 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 would have imposed 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 2279 The Anti-Discrimination Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed Senate 25-22, Failed House 35-56 - Loss SB 2279 sought 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. At the time of its introduction, state employees lacked 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 but failed on the floor of the House. After the bills’ defeat, Governor Dalrymple announced that state employees would have this protection going forward.
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SAFETY: House Bill 1157 Guns for Legislators at Capitol Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed House 45-47 - Win HB 1157 was the brainchild of 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 House 53-38, Failed Senate 17-28 - Win HB 1195, prime sponsored by Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-Valley City), would have allowed 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 passed HB 1195 but the Senate sensibly rejected it after crossover. House Bill 1428 Requiring State Agencies to Have a Policy in Place to Address Workplace Harassment Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed House 91-0, Passed Senate 40-7 - Win 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 both chambers easily.
SALARY/BENEFITS: House Bill 1244 Allowing Parents Who Adopt to Use Sick Leave to Care for New Child Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed House 77-15, Passed Senate 47-0 - Win 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), grants those parents the ability to do so and expands access to sick leave for all new parents to six weeks.
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. House Bill 1315 Allowing School Districts to Ignore Salary Schedules Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Passed House 60-32, Failed Senate 6-40 - Win HB 1315 would have allowed school districts to pay off the salary schedule for hard-to-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. House Bill 1403 The Sick Leave/Domestic Violence Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Passed House 88-2, Passed Senate 47-0 - Win HB 1403 was prime-sponsored by Rep. Mary Schneider (D– Fargo), and will allow state employees suffering from domestic violence to use their accrued sick leave to address their needs related to the abuse. NDU supported this bill because it represented 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.. Senate Bill 2290 The “Temps” Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed Senate 16-29 - Loss SB 2290 was 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.
TEACHING & LEARNING: House Bill 1461 Anti-Common Core Bill Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed House 43-46 - Win 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 1301 The Family Sick Leave Bill Position: Supported Outcome: Failed House 34-57 - Loss State employees can currently use their sick leave to stay home and care for their spouse, children or parents. HB 1301, ndunited.org
LET’S GO SURFING Websites can help you get your information out
Here in the Communications Corner, I like to talk to you about communications and public relations, and offer you my tips on how to better communicate in your locals. Hopefully you’ve noticed that theme. Otherwise, I’m just a guy in an awkward photo, with an equally awkward face, writing at random. Purpose is the key to what we do.
By Kelly Hagen Director of Field Communications
The Internet is just going to continue to grow and change how we do everything. The time to get on board is now.”
I mention this because a defined purpose is central to establishing our associations and attracting new members. We don’t just need to answer the questions of “Who are you?” and “What are you?” but we also must tell people “Why are you?” For what do you stand? If you don’t stand up for anything, then you stand for nothing. At North Dakota United, we narrowed down what we stand for into an axiom: Great public schools. Great public service. But we all know that the full answer is a lot more complicated, and takes some time to tell. But the description of whom we are, what we do and why we do it is not an obstacle, but an opportunity. You, as a member of NDU and your local association, can easily recruit new members purely by knowing who you are, what you are and why you are, and exchanging that information with your colleagues. Information is our friend, not our adversary. I tell you all this because I’m trying to set the table for websites. I must first provide you with the most clichéd of a writer’s tricks in the ol’ trick bag: the Webster’s definition of a word.
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Webster’s defines a “Web site” as: “a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.” Based on the list on the tail end of that sentence, concerning entities that most often make websites available, I think we qualify. Secondly, when we look at what a website is, at its core, it is information – a lot of information. As the dictionary so eloquently states, it’s a group of pages with hyperlinks gluing them together. The more pages, the more information you can share. And who are you sharing this information with? Everyone. A website is the place to store all the information you have about your association. Membership information, history, contact information, pictures, events, news articles, rights and responsibilities, columns written by funny-faced fellows about websites, etc., etc. Think about every question a prospective member, a current member, a parent, a citizen, the media, a lawmaker might have about your association, and give them the answer before they ask. That’s what your website should do. Does your association have a website? No? Why not? Is it because of cost? Because websites do cost money. There’s a cost to designing them, a cost to maintaining them, a cost to hosting them. However (dramatic music) what would you say if I told you that you could get a website for free from NDU? Is the answer: “YIPEE!”? Good; that was the reaction I was looking for.
Through our partners at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), we have a program called StateWeb. As AFT describes it on its LeaderNet site: “StateWeb will continue to be a free service to affiliates and allows them to have attractive, content-rich websites.” Every AFT-chartered local has access to a StateWeb site, which are easy to build and run, and convenient portals for you to store all the information about your association for members and non-members. And so I end this column with my own “ask.” I ask that if you are a local leader, you take a moment and think about your association’s needs, and if a website is high on that list, then you need to contact me at email@example.com. We will work together in assessing your local need, and identifying the right person in your local to serve as point person for your association’s website. If you are a member of NDU who is interested in building websites, and you see this as a role you’d like to play within your local association, then I ask you to please contact your local president or leadership team, or contact me and I will put you in contact with your local’s leadership. I answered a question at our Advocacy & Bargaining Conference, concerning when I thought that the role of the Internet would wane in our lives. My answer: It won’t. The Internet is just going to continue to grow and change how we do everything. The time to get on board is now. Together, we can catch the wave and surf the World Wide Web to attracting more members, and better informing current members, and the communities around us, as to who we are and what we do.
A HEALTHY ATTITUDE Chief of Disease Control takes pride in protecting the public By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications What do you do to stay healthy? Whatever you do – exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins, regularly checkups – you should know that you’re not working alone. Public health professionals are at work every day, on the state and local level, protecting your health and the health of the entire population. “Public health has the obligation and the mission to work not with single people, but with entire populations, and to keep communities and populations healthy,” said Kirby Kruger, Medical Services Section Chief and Division of Disease Control Director for the North Dakota Department of Health, and member of North Dakota United. “I think that public health has to work very closely with the private healthcare system. The private healthcare system has a mission to see the patient, to diagnose them, to work with that patient. … The two have to work hand in hand; they’re not separate from each other.” 18
Kruger is a native of New Salem, he received his bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University, and his Certificate of Public Health from Emory University. He has worked for the Department of Health since 1989, starting out as an HIV educator. “I sort of stumbled into public health,” Kruger said. “I was teaching high school science in Sykeston, and my wife was working in a small-town hospital laboratory, and she was looking at getting into a bigger area. And so we made the move to Bismarck, and there was a position open for HIV/AIDS educator with the Department of Health, and I applied and was offered the job. That was how I entered public health.” In his 26 years at the Department of Health, he has worked his way up to taking a leadership position at the department. He became the injury surveillance coordinator in 1990, and then program manager for the sexually transmitted disease and general communicable disease program manager in 1991. In 2000, he took ND United Voices
on the role of senior epidemiologist for the Division of Disease Control, and then became the state epidemiologist and division director in 2005. Finally, he would become section chief of the Medical Services Section in 2010. A lot has changed since the time he first started working for the state, in terms of technology and scientific methods. “There are so many more molecular methods,” Kruger said, “where they’re looking at snippets of the genetic material in organisms to identify the organisms, and to give us more information. That’s increased quite a bit, I should say, since I’ve been with the department.” What hasn’t changed is the overall mission of his Division of Disease Control: to keep an eye on the spread of infectious diseases within our state, and to protect the population from outbreaks. “The Division of Disease Control handles a lot of different things,” Kruger said. There are currently 77 different diseases, conditions or events that private healthcare providers are required to report to the Department of Health. “One of the things that has changed in the last year is how we get those reports. We’ve been able to work with many of the major laboratories that do medical testing to get electronic reporting. We have an electronic disease surveillance system. And they’re able to send us specialized messages that we can take and import into our database.” Once those diseases are reported, the Division of Disease Control then goes to work in researching these results and analyzing trends. “We have seven field epidemiologists, plus we have epidemiologists here in the central office for certain things,” Kruger said. “And the field epis, in their work queue, they’re assigned the diseases that are in their geographic area. And so they can go into their work queue on a daily basis, or multiple times per day, and see what’s coming in.” Different diseases require different responses. “If you get a measles that comes through, that’s high priority,” Kruger said, “or meningococcal or infectious syphilis, those are things that are higher priority. If it’s something where the disease isn’t easily transmitted from person to person – for example, Hantavirus, it’s a serious disease, but they generally occur in isolated cases.” The Division of Disease Control also plays a primary role in trying to prevent diseases from first happening. “The ideal with diseases is to have primary prevention, where we’re preventing the disease in the first place,” Kruger said. “And the best way to do this is through vaccinations. Vaccines are an important part of what we do in our division. … From our perspective, our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, children and adults, with the recommended vaccines. And we do that through education. We try to increase the availability of vaccination sites, and work with the providers to make sure they have the information they need to promote vaccinations to their patients.” ndunited.org
Vaccinations have been a hot-button issue in the news recently, following a measles outbreak at Disneyland, which then spread to 20 states. No cases of measles have been reported in North Dakota as of yet, but the Department of Health is keeping a close eye on the situation. “I think our concern here in North Dakota … the different vaccine-preventable diseases are all different in how infectious they are, but measles is very highly infectious,” Kruger said. “And if you’re going to protect the entire population, you have to have a 95 percent vaccination rate for your population. Our school surveys are showing us to be somewhere around 90 percent, so we are concerned that if measles does get introduced, there could be an outbreak. And the individuals may not be fully protected are hurting the immunity that is achieved at that 95 percent rate.” The Division of Disease Control also works diligently in fighting influenza each season, alongside private healthcare providers that treat patients and report cases to the state, and with their national partners at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and up the chain to the World Health Organization (WHO), to which North Dakota reports what they’re seeing on the ground, in an effort to respond by producing an effective vaccine. “Influenza A viruses are notorious for being able to change,” Kruger said. “We saw this last influenza season the way that our vaccines are made it takes about a six-month span to make the vaccine. And so in February of each year, the World Health Organization through their surveillance will indicate to CDC what’s circulating, in terms of influenza A viruses. And they have to start making a plan for which influenza A viruses will be covered in the vaccine starting in February for the upcoming influenza season.” The key to everything that the Department of Health and its Division of Disease Control do is having experienced, knowledgeable and passionate personnel in place, doing all they can to protect the citizens of our state. “I feel fortunate that I’ve got good people who are very dedicated,” Kruger said. “A lot of the work that we do goes unnoticed until there is something that happens. For example, when Ebola emerged, there was a lot of public concern about that. And there were things that we were doing in the background that probably the public wasn’t aware of, the monitoring of people coming in from other countries and that sort of thing.” Kruger said he is thankful to have found a position that keeps him on his toes, and allows him to give back to his home state and the people who live here. “This has been a very challenging, rewarding position for me, and working within this division,” Kruger said. “I’ve learned so much, and to be honest with you, I think being able to do this for the state of North Dakota has really been an absolute pleasure.” 19
I look forward to working with all of you as a young educator! Good luck in your college career and finish strong!”
NDU STUDENT PRESIDENT SAYS, ‘FAREWELL’ By Patricia Lopez, NDU Student President It has been a crazy two years as the president of Student North Dakota United. We have increased membership steadily and were honored to have past National Education Association (NEA) Student Program chair, David Tjaden, and current chair, Chesley Herrig, visit North Dakota. I never expected to enjoy this position as much as I have. The board and staff have been amazing. I have received so much support, I don’t even know what to do with it all! I would love to thank all the members who have supported the student program. I know I haven’t been able to complete all my goals for the organization, but the next group of officers will do a wonderful job. It is my honor to introduce next year’s president, Cheryl Mortezaee. She is a senior at Minot State University, obtaining a degree in Elementary Education with Reading and Middle School English concentrations. I am excited to see where she will take the student program and lead her officer team. Malia Salyards, also from Minot State University, will be the vice president. She is also an Elementary Education major with a concentration in reading. Emily Pfeifer will be the secretary and she is from the University of Mary. She is majoring in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Erin Olson, next year’s publications director, is an Elementary Education and Special Education double major from Mayville State University. To the student members reading this, I thank you for your support and I know these wonderful ladies will lead you in the right direction. I look forward to working with all of you as a young educator! Good luck in your college career and finish strong! To all the active and retired members, thank you for being wonderful role models. I look forward to working with you in the classroom!
National Education Association (NEA) Current Student Program chair, Chesley Herrig
MAYVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY Celebrates its students’ achievements By Patricia Lopez, NDU Student President Mayville State University has a tradition each semester to honor their student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors. At the end of the semester, they hold a banquet to celebrate the four years of hard work and the people that have supported the student along the way. This semester it was held on Wednesday, April 29, at 6 p.m. The program began with an introduction by Kelli Odden, the newly appointed Student Education Association advisor. Then Erin Olson, newly elected SNDU Publications Director, spoke about her opportunity to serve at the state level. Danika Carpenter, a MaSU 2012 graduate sent a video welcoming student teachers to the profession, and then Aubrey Moen and Alyssa DeMars introduced the student teachers and their cooperating teachers.
SNDU officers met Saturday, April 25, 2015, at NDU Headquarters and spent the day hearing from NDU President Nick Archuleta, learning about NEA and AFT, participating in “True Colors” facilitated by UniServ Director Jane Rupprecht, hearing from NDU CFO Gary Rath, defining their roles, and setting recruitment goals to take back to their campuses.
After dinner, Brittany Phelps, another graduate of Mayville State, spoke about her first few years as a teacher and how Mayville prepared her for the profession. She shared a few humorous stories and gave the student teachers the ABCs of advice.
Below from left to right back row: NDU Student Advisor Heather Fritz, President Nick Archuleta, CFO Gary Rath and Past SNDU President Patricia Lopez. From left to right front row: Vice President Malia Salyards of Minot, Publications Director Erin Olson of Mayville, Secretary-Treasurer Emily Pfeifer of University of Mary, and President Cheryl Mortezaee.
Then Kayla Smith, the student teacher coordinator, awarded Lori Nelson a Semester of Service Awards for helping student teachers for 10 semesters. To end the banquet of celebration, Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz, Education Department Chair, held a toast for Odden who became a doctor that day. Mayville State does a wonderful job of celebrating its students and professors in all their achievements.
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UNITED VOICES Serving the public every step of the way!
FIRST OF ITS KIND ND UNITED MEMBER ADVOCACY CONFERENCE Labeled a huge success By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications
Approximately 160 members from across the state attended the North Dakota United Member Advocacy Conference at Bismarck’s Ramkota Inn on March 27-28, 2015. “The idea of an all-member advocacy conference came from my desire to bring together members from each of NDU’s constituency groups in one place to discuss issues important to all of us,” said NDU President Nick Archuleta. It is important that as we merge the cultures of the two predecessor organizations, we create opportunities to meet as one unified organization.” Participants arrived Friday evening for a Student Assembly, Coordinated Bargaining Councils, a General Session and a social. At the evening session, students heard from the National Education Association Student President Chelsey Herrig from Marshall, Minn. Herring told students how, as a little girl growing up, all she wanted to be was a teacher until she had a dreadful experience in fifth grade. “I was a student who was humiliated, in more than one way, by an elementary teacher,” said Herrig. “She insulted my mom in front of class. He held my big red ‘F’ next to the pretty blue ‘A+’ to tell the class how a good student takes a test versus a bad student. Starting that year, I hated school.” “I was bullied because of my last name, and my clothes were purchased from Kmart,” she said. “I was harassed for befriending a classmate who was physically bullied each day. I hated school until my role model, my middle school principal, spent a little extra time to listen and went that extra mile to be sure I had a good day. She changed my entire perspective as a sixth-grade girl. I was excited to wake up and go to school. I had more courage to stand up to the bullies. The day that Mrs. Wilkinson told me she was proud of me was the day that I decided every student should have a Mrs. Wilkinson.” “College and universities prepare us to write lesson plans, develop engaging learning activities, and the proper dress code,” said Herrig. “What about professionalism? What to do when there is an intruder? And how about those contracts we have to sign and how public schools are funded?” Herrig explained that the NEA-Student Program prepares students for the challenges that could make or break the love of the profession. “As the future of education, we are also the future of NEA,” she said. “We are the future three million members of the largest labor union in AMERICA … the National Education Association!” In a packed room for the evening General Session, participants heard from guest speaker NEA Executive Committee Member Earl Wiman. While serving on the Executive Committee, Wiman has helped lead NEA’s signature initiative to transform schools: “Leading the Professions.” 22
ND United Voices
Wiman told participants, “This conference will strengthen your bargaining skills, allow you to have the latest information on issues affecting your jobs and worksites, as well further develop your skills for leadership, political activity and communications. You are focused on organizing for what is good and right for our public employees, our students and all of our members.” He asked: “What will you do when you get home, that’s what is important? You may have sharpened your skills as an advocate but will you have the title of an advocate or will you have the testimony of an advocate.” According to Wiman, what is important when participants returned home was to continue their title as an advocate and begin to build their testimony? “Together and United, will you listen to your members?” he asked. “Will you give them hope that together we can move forward? Will you build alliances in your communities; build alliances of those who will support public services, support public education, doing what’s right for all of your children, ALL of your citizens, doing what’s right for your members? “Together and United: Will you organize to work for legislative justice for public schools and public service employees?” he said. “You know that when legislators get out of our house, we will get out of their house.” Wiman said, “Your own North Dakota United Legislative Update states: ‘You see, there are some in the Legislature who view funding things such as K-12 education, higher education and state employee salaries as wasteful government spending. Much of the rest of the Legislative Session will be spent making the case that the funding priorities championed by North Dakota United are the same as those supported by the general public.’ North Dakota United, you have championed high standards, testified against reductions in corporate income rates, advocated for greater flexibility in the use of sick leave, demanded equal pay for equal work and shown the stupidity of allowing concealed weapons in schools.” According to Wiman, we must now stand up to say: “Instead of blaming educators and public employees, we need to organize America to start looking at the policies, policymakers and politicians who are keeping us from doing our jobs instead of blaming the people doing the work.
debate between Republicans and Democrats, it must be a fight not a mere discussion about who is liberal and who is conservative but it must be a fight, a fight in the courts, a fight in the streets, and fight at the ballot box,” he said. “We must raise our hands, we must stand strong, we must fight, we must fight for our children, and fight for the public good, fight for the soul of this nation, if we do, if we do it in our time, the day will come, when our children will holler our name and history will record our acts because while we had breath in our body and were clothed in our right minds, we did not give up the fight. “North Dakota United, we fight for our all of our members,” Wiman said. “We fight for human dignity. We fight for economic security. We fight to preserve to preserve the public good. We fight for our students.” Ending his speech, Wiman asked, “What will it be when you go home from this conference: Title or Testimony?” The next morning, participants broke out into sessions: Finance Facts, Basics of Negotiations, Students Issues, Public Employees/ Higher Education Issues and Education Support Professionals Issues. With not a minute wasted during the conference, NDU President Nick Archuleta, and lobbyists Stuart Savelkoul, Fern Pokorny and Jane Rupprecht gave participants an update on what was going on at the Legislature immediately following a short lunch. Afternoon sessions included: Contract Language, Verbal Skills, Leadership Development/Political Action and Communications/ Member Benefits. Contract Language and Verbal Skills included a presentation by NDU attorney Mike Geiermann, who spoke to the bargainers about cases the organization was involved in previously and presently. “You need to be aware of what’s happening throughout the state, so you can be prepared if it happens to you,” said Geiermann. “Although we had some 160 people in attendance representing each of NDU’s constituency groups, I would like to have seen even more of our members present. We will continue to explore ways of making this gathering even more appealing to all our members,” said NDU President Archuleta. PowerPoints of the presentations are available at ndunited.org.
“We must go back to the fight, because it must be a fight, it must be fight true to our moral values, it must be a fight not a mere ndunited.org
ND UNITED MEMBER ADVOCACY CONFERENCE
Clockwise from left to right: NDU Attorney Michael Geiermann spoke to the bargainers about cases the organization was involved in previously and presently. “You need to be aware of what’s happening throughout the state, so you can be prepared if it happens to you,” said Geiermann. Members listen intently in small group sessions on bargaining. NDU President Nick Archuleta explains an issue to Board Member Toni Guminger of Bismarck. UniServ Director Jane Rupprecht presents a workshop. Participants work in small group sessions. Guest speaker NEA Executive Committee Member Earl Wiman visits with President Archuleta and NEA Director Karen Askerooth. 24
ND United Voices
Dakota Un h it rt
BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED Organization conducts yearly business By Linda Harsche, NDU Communications The North Dakota United Delegate Assembly was held on April 17-18, 2015. Friday night’s registration and social were at Bismarck’s Ramada Hotel and the Delegate Assembly continued the next day, April 18, at Bismarck State College, in the National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE). The Myron Johnson/Nathan Goodiron American Legion Post 271 from Mandaree presented the Flags and served as Color Guards, and 100 delegates from around the state heard guest speakers Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told the delegates that, every day, they help young people achieve their potential. “Every day, you make a difference,” she said. For many of these kids you are their parents. Our school systems have become our first responders.” “As the daughter of a school cook and a truck driver,” said Heitkamp, “I was given the gift of public education and the opportunity to be challenged every day.” Heitkamp talked about the reauthorization of ESEA. She said a package had just been negotiated. “That’s what happens when good people come together and put the goals of public education on the table. The bill has been supported by the AFT.” “In Washington, we are going to fight for kids and for you and what has created this great democracy,” said Heitkamp. “Kids represent our future. You not only teach those who are the brightest, but you track those who are not as bright. I want to thank you for what you do, and we will try to make your life a little easier.” ND United President Nick Archuleta addressed the crowd. “As your president, I have the pleasure of traveling across North Dakota and beyond our borders, meeting with public employees and educators, as well as policymakers and others,” he said. “I am constantly amazed at
the creativity I see in our classrooms and humbled by the work that I see public employees do.” “As you have been seeing in the NDU Legislative Updates,” he said, “there are an awful lot of important decisions being made in the tall building across town that will have serious implications for every one of us in this room today. Stuart Savelkoul, Jane Rupprecht, Fern Pokorny, Gisele Thorson, Geoff Greenwood and I have all been to the Capitol. We have sat through seemingly endless committee hearings. We have testified on dozens of bills. “We have worked very hard to protect and enhance your rights in the workplace. We were absolutely committed to stop a very damaging and retaliatory piece of legislation designed to undermine collective bargaining for K-12 teachers. We have fought to protect the funding and governance of higher education. We have been driven to ensure that our pensions remain secure. We have worked to make sure that employees have access to their hard-earned leave when they need it to strengthen the bond between them and their newborn or newly adopted son or daughter. “And there have been many more bills, many more fights, and many more controversies than we have time to enumerate. These are worthy fights. And every bit as important as the other work we do on your behalf every day of the week when the circus … I mean the Legislature, is not in town.” Archuleta closed his speech by saying it has been a good year for North Dakota United. “Even so,” he said, “I know that next year will be even better! It will be better because our organization will be better. NDU is now 1 year and 8 months old. If NDU was a child, it would be putting together two word sentences and be eager to repeat the words it hears. So here is a two word sentence that I would like NDU to learn: LET’S GROW!”
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem began his speech by thanking the participants for recommending him for office. “Every time I ran for Attorney General, I’ve had this organization behind me.”
She then showed a video from NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia talking about the Reauthorization of ESEA and asking delegates to get involved.
He went on to explain that he had just left another event called, “The Race for Change,” which was a benefit for the tragic accident where three family members were killed by a drunk driver. He explained the drunkdriving law now states that after a second offense a person is not allowed to drink any alcohol for a year. The person is evaluated frequently and if found to have been drinking is then taken into custody.
“In closing,” said Askerooth, “I charge each and every delegate to go back to your locals and associations and tell members to contact our Congressman Kevin Cramer and Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven because together we the teachers, educational support personnel, higher education, and public employees all join united to say: ‘We stand together with voices loud and clear. We are North Dakota United!’”
“Arrests went from 77 to 63,” he said. “Convictions were reduced by 25 percent.”
ND United Interim Executive Director Jim Yoder reported on the 2014 New Business Items.
Stenehjem said he is asking the Legislature for additional funding to give his employees raises and to increase the amount of employees in his office. The new employees will be hired for trafficking and drug enforcement. “I appreciate all the dedication of those who work in my office,” said Stenehjem.
A report of the Budget and Finance Committee was presented by Vice President of Public Employees Gary Feist and Chief Financial Officer Gary Rath. Delegates were asked to discuss and ask questions regarding the budget.
According to Stenehjem, his testimony to a legislative committee included a story about a 16-year old girl that started texting a man on the internet. They started getting to know each other and then started exchanging photos. He told her he needed her to send nude photos or he would commit suicide. She didn’t want to be responsible for his suicide so she sent them. Then, he introduced her to a friend on internet and told her he was dying of cancer, and wanted her to send photos to him. If she stopped sending the photos, he was going to send the nude photos to her parents, the dean of her college, etc. The act of pity ended in a never ending story of threats. She did not tell anyone. This went on for years. “Well, we caught this individual,” said Stenehjem, “and went to the college to talk to this young lady. We told her your problems are over. The relief that this woman felt was overwhelming. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Stenehjem said these predators are caught because of the dedication of all the people who work hard in his office. “I am proud to be a state employee,” he added. NEA Director Karen Askerooth talked to the delegates about the Reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA). She told delegates that the last time Congress reauthorized ESEA, it did not listen enough to the educators and parents. “The result was a ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ that has not worked for students the way it was intended,” she said. “Right now, Congress is trying to ‘fix’ ESEA on its 50th Anniversary of when President Lyndon Baines Johnson stated: ‘Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.’ We need to get back to the promise of ESEA.” Askerooth said that NEA is still keeping up the pressure for its three core goals for the final ESEA: •
Closing opportunity gaps for students by creating a new accountability system with an ‘opportunity dashboard’ as its centerpiece.
Giving students more time to learn by addressing over-testing and de-coupling the tests from high-stakes decisions.
Ensuring that all students have access to qualified educators who are empowered to lead.
NDU Resolutions Chair Brenda Seehafer proposed the NDU Resolutions. New Business Item 1, the PR Special Assessment, was adopted. The following were elected to the ND United Board of Directors by unanimous ballot: Tyann Schlenker, ESP; Brenda Seehafer, K-12 District less than 600 students; Dakota Draper, K-12 District greater than 600 students; Mike Stebbins, Public Employee; Jamie Eriksson, Higher Education Support, Paul Markel, Higher Education-4 year; Alicia Bata, Ethnic Director; Lori Young, Northeast Region Director; Alan Leintz, Northwest Region Director; David Marquardt, Southeast Region Director; and Toni Gumeringer, Southwest Region Director. Leah Hamann of United Tribes Technical College was nominated for the Higher Education – 2 year position by Jamie Eriksson, and seconded by Wendy Gibson. Hamann was elected by the delegation. ND United Assistant Executive Director for Political Advocacy Stuart Savelkoul gave the delegates a rundown on what was happening at the 2015 Legislature. Board member Brad Srur presented a final report of the Credentials Committee. There were 100 voting delegates present. ND United Resolutions Chair Brenda Seehafer moved for the adoption of the Resolutions. The resolutions were adopted. Delegates to the 2015 NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando, Fla., were elected. They are: Stacy Adamson, Deb Beeler, Lisa Dullum, Toni Gumeringer, Linda Maize, Brooklyn Schaan, Tim Thueson, Tom Young. Going as cluster delegates are: Alicia, Bata, Karen Christensen and Brenda Seehafer. The retiring ND United Board members were recognized: Stephen Hayton, Bill Klimpel, Marella Krein, Gloria Lokken, Patricia Lopez, Dr. Douglas Munski, Henry Riegler, Carrie Smith and Brad Srur. Winners of the $50 Best Buy gift cards from Horace Mann Insurance were Kaila Margheim of West Fargo and Mary Jane Chiles of Minot. There were no new additional business items introduced. The 2015-16 NDU Budget was adopted, and the Delegate Assembly adjourned at 12:18 p.m.
ND United Voices
Above, Clockwise from left to right: The Myron Johnson/Nathan Goodiron American Legion Post 271 from Mandaree presented the Flags and served as Color Guards. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he appreciated the dedication of those who work in his office. ND United President Nick Archuleta addressed the crowd of 100 people.
Below: Clockwise from left to right: NDU Executive Director Chad Oban reviews the Delegate Handbook. ESPs Tyann Schlenker of Fargo and Audrey Haskell of West Fargo catch up during a break. Former Retired President Gloria Lokken of Minot chats with Rebecca Savelkoul of Bismarck. Delegates review New Business Items. NDU Vice President Karen Christensen and NEA Director Karen Askerooth await their turn to speak. 100 delegates work on the Associationâ€™s business for 2015-16. Senator Heidi Heitkamp greets her former teacher Bill Hrdlicka from Hankinson.
ND United Voices
DICKINSON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WINS DISTRICT COURT DECISION ON PETITION By NDU Staff
DICKINSON, N.D. – For the second time in less than two years, the Dickinson Education Association (DEA) received a favorable ruling from a District Court judge regarding a negotiations dispute with the Dickinson School Board. In April, the DEA brought suit against the Board for rejecting the DEA’s Petition to Negotiate for the upcoming school year. In North Dakota, teachers are given the right to negotiate with school boards. The first step in the process is the submission of a petition signed by a majority of the teachers. “In this case, DEA used basically the same petition it had used for the past 35 years, which was signed by 86 percent of the teachers,” said DEA President Lyle Smith. “The School Board rejected it twice.” At a hearing in District Court on Thursday, May 21, before Judge Dan Greenwood, the Board and the DEA teachers made their arguments. The Board argued that the DEA had failed to comply with a two-step process set forth in the negotiations law. In addition, in an effort to control negotiations with the DEA, in December, the School Board passed several policies requiring the DEA to comply with the school board policy to the extent that the ndunited.org
DEA was required to use forms provided to it by the Board. In the event the DEA did not use the Board’s forms, the policy required their petitions to be rejected. In arguing on behalf of the DEA, Attorney Mike Geiermann reminded the Court, “This case is not about petitioning, or the recognition of the DEA. It is about control and the School Board’s desire to control the negotiation process and the DEA.” Geiermann argued to the Court that the Board had rejected petitions of the DEA on three different occasions beginning in August 2014. Prior to that time – and for the previous 35 years – the Board had never rejected a petition of the DEA, even though the DEA used the same petitioning process during that time period. In ruling in favor of the DEA, Judge Greenwood found that the DEA had complied with the requirements of North Dakota law regarding negotiations. He also ruled that since the DEA complied with the law, the Board did not have the right to reject the petition. Greenwood also ruled that the Board did not have the authority to pass policies that restricted the negotiation process.
this decision would allow negotiations to start with the Board. “We tried to avoid this confrontation with the Board,” said DEA President Lyle Smith. “We contacted the Board and asked them to do the right thing, and they refused. Our negotiations were dead in the water.” He added, “Our job is those kids. All we want to do is get back to our jobs and do what we do best. Hopefully, negotiations can now move forward.” Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, said that DEA’s victory in court is a win for the process of collective bargaining. “For whatever reason, we have seen unprecedented attacks on the collective bargaining processes that have served both school districts and teachers well since 1969,” Archuleta said. “It is time for school boards in Dickinson and across North Dakota to get back to the negotiations table and to take seriously their responsibility to bargain in good faith with the professional educators that teach their children. Our communities have an expectation that teachers and school boards will conduct their negotiations fairly and reasonably. We should strive diligently to meet that expectation.”
DEA leaders were pleased with the Court’s ruling, and hoped that
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KEEP UP TO DATE WITH NDU RETIRED We’ll provide you with the latest information Someone wise once said, “A group is effective as long as its members remain active.” To me this is so true. How can we not be active in this day and age? The North Dakota Legislature just adjourned without finishing the people’s business. From an op-ed that NDU President Archuleta recently sent to area newspapers, we all know that the budget for PERS was not agreed upon when the Legislature decided to adjourn.
By Nancy Peterson ND United Retired President
All of these issues are ones that the NDU and the NDURetired remain vigilant about.”
For many NDU-Retired members the health insurance issue has not been settled and many still have questions about the switch from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Sanford and the long-term affect this will have on their health care. All of these issues are ones that the NDU and the NDU-Retired remain vigilant about. Any changes in the future will certainly be communicated with our members to make an informed decision. Speaking of communication … the NDU-Retired Council wants to establish a better method of communicating with our members. Please contact the office and let us know if your address, phone number and/or email have changed, or you can send this information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let them know. We want to involve as many members as we can in what is happening with NDU-Retired, and we need to know the best method to get information to you. Also friend us on Facebook and read what is happening to education and members here in North Dakota and across the nation. Our membership is strong but we can always grow by adding you to our list. Please fill out the membership form listed below. Join us in the conversation on what makes us a strong union. Have a great spring, and I look forward to continuing this conversation.
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
NDU FOUNDATION AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS The Association’s goal is to aid educators, public servants and students North Dakota United Foundation promotes educational excellence and quality public service in North Dakota. The Foundation’s goal is to aid educators, public servants and students in achieving greater educational success. The Foundation accomplishes this by providing to individual educators, public servants and college student various grants and scholarships designed to enhance their skills. The following are the winners of the 2015-16 North Dakota Foundation Awards: Ross Allmaras, of Carrington, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship. Allmaras, the son of Conni Allmars, Carrington, will receive a cash award of $1,000 to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. NDU Education Scholarships are awarded to a student member of NDU, including student NEA/ AFT members in other states, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education. Allmaras is a senior at Carrington High School and will be attending North Dakota State University in Fargo this fall. At Carrington High School he’s been a Science Olympiad participant and won 11 medals at regional and state level in engineering/building events. He’s been involved in the Boy Scouts of America and has earned his Eagle Scout award. Since the summer of 2014, Allmaras has been working at the NDSU Research Center in Carrington. Madison Brown, of Bismarck, has been awarded the Mary Cripps Special Education Scholarship. Brown, the daughter of Tamara Brown Volk, Bismarck, will receive a cash award of $750 for her sophomore year of Speech Language Pathology study. The Mary Cripps Special Education Scholarship is awarded annually to either an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing initial or advanced training in special education. Brown is majoring in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Mary. In addition to her studies, she is a University of Mary Marauders cheerleader and a member of the Emerging Leadership Academy. She works as a lifeguard, teaches swimming lessons at the BSC Aquatic Center, is an assistant cheer coach at Century High School and is a Patient Service Coordinator at Sanford Walk-In Clinic. Marcy Buchholz, of Minot, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship. Buchholz will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her senior year of Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education study. NDU Education Scholarships are awarded to a student member of NDU, including student NEA/AFT members in other states, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education. Buchholz is attending the University of North Dakota and will graduate in December 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. While in high school and college, she has had extensive experience teaching children in both Minot and Grand Forks. 32
ND United Voices
Alyssa DeMars, of Cavalier, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship. DeMars, the daughter of Janette and Kevin DeMars, Cavalier, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her junior year of Elementary Education study. NDU Education Scholarships are awarded to a student member of NDU, including student NEA/AFT members in other states, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education. DeMars is a student at Mayville State University with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Needs and Early Childhood Development. In addition to being on the dean’s list, she is a leader on campus and is involved in many organizations. These include the student chapter of North Dakota United, Alpha Phi Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society, Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mayville “Cometeers” Campus Volunteer organization, and she has also participated in mission work. Morgan Effertz, of Velva, has been awarded an NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship.. Effertz, the daughter of Monica and Alan Effertz, Velva, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her freshman year of Animal Health Management study. NDU Member/Dependent Scholarships are awarded to a member, including student members or dependents of an NDU member, who is pursuing post-secondary education in any field of study, including vocational, associate or bachelor degree programs. Effertz will be attending North Dakota State University in the fall and will be pursuing a degree in Animal Science. She has been on the honor roll for all semesters at Velva High School, participated in her church’s youth organization and choir, and Velva Saddle Club. She currently works at Velva Drug and is a hired hand on her family’s farm. Jonathan Labrensz, of Moorhead, Minn., has been awarded the Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship for English, Math or Science Instructors. Labrensz will receive a cash award of $2,000 for his master’s degree in Math Education. The Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship Program is intended to assist individual English, math or science instructors to improve their qualifications by attending summer school or engaging in graduate level courses during the regular academic year, online courses or extension courses that are part of a graduate program. Labrensz is in his second year of teaching at Davies High School in Fargo, and is completing his master’s degree in Mathematics Education. He currently teaches Algebra 2, Math in Action, and has taught pre-calculus, geometry and AP calculus. Robert Lukens of Wishek, has been awarded the Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship for English, Math or Science Instructors. In addition to that he received the Joseph A. Westby Leadership Award. Lukens will receive a cash award of $3,000 for his master’s degree of Science Education. The Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship Program is intended to assist individual English, math or science instructors to improve their qualifications by attending summer school or engaging in graduate level courses during the regular academic year, online courses or extension courses that are part of a graduate program. The Joseph A. Westby award was established by the former Executive Director of NDEA and recognizes the need for staff and members to pursue leadership training opportunities. Lukens is currently a fourth-grade teacher in Wishek, and an active member of North Dakota United. He’s studying for a Master’s degree in Science Education at Montana State University. His goal is to be able to affect students at all levels by becoming certified in science.
Austin Mack, of Dickinson, has been awarded a NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship. Mack, the son of Cherie Mack, Dickinson, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for his sophomore year of study. NDU Member/Dependent Scholarships are awarded to a member, including student members or dependents of an NDU member, who is pursuing post-secondary education in any field of study, including vocational, associate or bachelor degree programs. Mack is pursuing a degree in Communications with a concentration on Human Resources and Marketing from the University of Jamestown. He’s currently on the dean’s list and a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s List Academic Student. Austin is also a member of the university’s track and soccer teams, the Student Senate and the Code of Conduct review Board. Jaci Norbury, of Velva, has been awarded the Bill Oban Special Education Scholarship. Norbury, the daughter of Maria and Ron Norbury, Velva, will receive a cash award of $250 for her senior year of Special and Elementary Education study. The Bill Oban Special Education Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate student who is preparing for a career in special education. NDU Education Scholarships are awarded to a student member of NDU, including student NEA/AFT members in other states, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education. Norbury is attending Minot State University, and in December 2015, she will be earning a double degree in both Elementary Education and Special Education. Norbury has been on the president’s and dean’s list and is an active member of the Student North Dakota United chapter, coordinating the Read Across America Event. She participates in intramural basketball and currently works as an Operations Assistant at Capital Financial Services. Morgan Pandolfo, of Bowbells, has been awarded the Bill Oban Special Education Scholarship. Pandolfo will receive a cash award of $1,250 for her senior year of study. The Bill Oban Special Education Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate student who is preparing for a career in special education. NDU Education Scholarships are awarded to a student member of NDU, including student NEA/AFT members in other states, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education. Pandolfo is studying for a double major in Elementary Education and Special Education at the University of Mary. She is the chapter president of the Student North Dakota United chapter at University of Mary. Since the fall of 2012 to the present, she has been on the University of Mary dean’s list. At Bowbells High School, she was the 2012 Salutatorian and Senior Athlete of the Year. Marley Papenfuss, of Portland, has been awarded an NDU Member/ Dependent Scholarship. Papenfuss, the daughter of Laurie and Brad Papenfuss, Portland, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her sophomore year of Early Childhood and Special Education study. NDU Member/Dependent Scholarships are awarded to a member, including student members or dependents of an NDU member, who is pursuing post-secondary education in any field of study, including vocational, associate or bachelor degree programs. Papenfuss is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood and Special Education study at Mayville State University. She has been on the dean’s list each semester since she began college. She currently substitute teaches for paraprofessionals, does work for Easter Seals, babysits, teaches swimming lessons and works at Gearing Up for Kindergarten, providing childcare.
ND United Voices
Theresa Quist, of Bismarck, has been awarded the Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship for English, Math or Science Instructors. Quist will receive a cash award of $3,000 for her master’s degree in Reading Instruction. The Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship Program is intended to assist individual English, math or science instructors to improve their qualifications by attending summer school or engaging in graduate-level courses during the regular academic year, online or extension courses that are part of a graduate program. Quist received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from the University of Mary, graduating summa cum laude. She is a secondgrade teacher at Sunrise Elementary in Bismarck and is completing her Master of Education degree in Reading Instruction at the University of Mary. Marianne Tan of Waukegan, Ill., has been awarded the NDU Foundation Ethnic Minority Scholarship. Tan will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her senior year of Elementary Education study. The NDU Foundation Ethnic Minority Scholarship is awarded annually to a minority preparing to teach. Special consideration is given to a student attending a tribal college. Funding for this scholarship comes from a special grant from North Dakota United. Tan is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Mary. She was a 2011-12 Illinois State Scholar and a 2013-14 Outstanding Campus Ministry Volunteer at the University of Mary. She will be student teaching this fall semester and graduating in December 2015. Luci Terry, of Fargo, has been awarded the NDU Member Grant. Terry, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for purchasing additional iPad’s for her classroom. These additional devices will enable her special needs students to be actively engaged. Terry is a special education teacher at Freedom Elementary School in West Fargo. She is an active member of NDU’s West Fargo Education Association and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Special Education.
Kristi Tonnessen, of Towner, has been awarded a NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship. Tonnessen, the daughter of Pamela and Terry Tonnessen, Towner, will receive a cash award of $ 1,000 for her senior year of Agriculture Education study. NDU Member/Dependent Scholarships are awarded to a member, including student members or dependents of an NDU member, who is pursuing post-secondary education in any field of study, including vocational, associate or bachelor degree programs. Tonnessen is pursuing a degree in Agriculture Education from North Dakota State University. Her goal is to become an Agriculture Teacher and an FFA Advisor. She has been on the dean’s list for six semesters. She is a North Dakota FFA State Officer and an active volunteer on the national level, Saddle and Sirloin Club Member, NDSU Dairy judging team, 89th Little International Queen and the Bison Dairy Club.
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