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BUDGET STORM BREWING

Inside: CROSSOVER REPORT & REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES COMING UP ndunited.org

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Contact Us 701.223.0450 comments@ndunited.org Postmaster, send address changes to: North Dakota United 301 N 4th Street Bismarck, ND 58501 Kelly Hagen Director of Communications Tom Gerhart Director of Public Affairs Image Printing Design/Publisher Cover photo illustration by: Kyle Locket Data & Website Specialist

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There is a metaphoric dark cloud hanging over the state of North Dakota the last several months, and it is the uncertainty surrounding our state budget.

2017 CROSSOVER REPORT

A guide to all the bills of most interest to North Dakota United members during the first half of the 2017 legislative session.

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SILENT EPIDEMIC

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REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES TO BE HELD

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PATH OF SCIENCE

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TENURE PROTECTIONS DOWNGRADED

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NONRENEWAL DO’S AND DON’TS

MARCH 2017 United Voices is the official publication of North Dakota United, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501.

BUDGET ISSUES LOOM OVERHEAD

“My work in education has put me in danger.” This perspective is not unique. One educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared her story with us about an incident that happened in her school in which she was attacked by a student.

North Dakota United will be hosting two Regional Assemblies, instead of our state Delegate Assembly.

Our Member Profile looks at BSC assistant professor of physics Tony Musumba, and his journey from Kenya to Bismarck.

Back in January, SBHE began considering the controversial change to policy 605.3, which deals with nonrenewal, termination or dismissal of faculty due to growing budget constraints.

What should North Dakota United members do if they receive a notice that their teaching contract is to be nonrenewed, terminated or reduced?

ND United Voices


President’s Post

DO NOT DESPAIR By Nick Archuleta NDU President

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Revenue shortage is our chance to ask tough questions

irst I must apologize to NDU Communications Director Kelly Hagen for the delay in getting this column finished. (I’m fine. – editor’s note) I wanted to wait for the March budget forecast to roll in before I shared some thoughts on the state of our state a little after the halfway point of the 65th legislative session. Well, the forecast is out, and it is not good. Not good at all. As you know, the state is $46 million short of revenue to finish this fiscal year. In the 2017-19 biennium, it is projected that there will be a shortage of $103 million in general fund revenue. Of course, there are legislators that will insist that all of state government is just going to have to suck it up, Buttercup, and tighten those belts a little tighter. But what if you’ve trimmed away all the fat in the last allotments and your current 80-percent budget already has long-term negative implications for your institution or to your agency? What if you have already cut so deeply that your ability to recruit the best faculty and students to your university is irretrievably impacted? What if your agency is unable to provide the vital services to the citizens of North Dakota that they have come to expect and which they certainly deserve and need? What if our public schools find themselves unable to recruit and retain the very teachers they need to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in North Dakota? Unless something changes, I am afraid we are about to find out. Already we know that public employees will not be receiving a salary increase for the next two years of the biennium. We also know that due to design changes to the PERS health plan, public employees will see a roughly $20 per-month, per-person increase in their out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, over 300 positions will remain unfilled while more than 300 more public employees will receive pink slips alerting them that their jobs – the jobs they have done so loyally and which make it possible to feed their families – will be terminated. What message does that send to those dedicated employees that remain in their jobs? How does the new reality of those who have survived (so far) the budget cuts impact an agency’s ability to retain, let alone attract, high-quality employees who can provide high-quality services to the people of North Dakota? We also know that there is great and deserved anxiety on each of our 11 higher education campuses in North Dakota. The extremely vital education support professionals, whose work is at the very core of a highfunctioning educational institution, will have to do more work for less reward. The faculty of our institutions of higher education are also under fire. In addition to seeing programs curtailed and course offerings cut, the N.D. State Board of Higher Education approved a scheme to make tenure less meaningful in North Dakota than it is in most other areas of the country. The revision of rule 605.3 means that tenured faculty will have either 90 or 180 days’ notice that they are being terminated. The difference

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is dependent on the reason for termination, neither of which is causerelated. Is this revision because it affords students some type of a benefit? No. Its sole purpose is to give university presidents another tool that can be wielded to slash their budgets. But the chilling effect it will have on retaining and recruiting faculty will be significant and long-lasting. K-12 education has thus far been spared the budget axe that has otherwise befallen other public service agencies and institutions. The reason for that is that ND United led the effort to pass Measure 2 in last November’s election. M2 freed up almost $300 million from the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund for the Legislature to use to keep K-12 funding stable, while also freeing up other monies to, at least in part, mitigate the impact of reduced revenues on other general funded agencies and institutions. Even so, K-12 will still be dinged in that certain flow-through monies will no longer be available, and transportation funding will be less. It is easy - too easy - to be overwhelmed and disillusioned by the continuing bad news regarding the North Dakota economy. But we must not give in to despair. We must not give in to negativity. Giving in is the same as giving up, and all of us, as public employees, cannot afford to quit or to sit idly by any longer. I was asked recently, “When is the best time for someone to fight for her job?” I answered, “While she’s still got a job to fight for!” Remember, we are not in this just for ourselves. We are in this because every citizen of our state needs safe roads, they need quality education, they need dynamic higher education campuses, they need vital public services. And they need all those things delivered economically, professionally and in a timely manner. In short friends, North Dakota needs US! They need YOU. So what can YOU do? You can stand up and stand out! You can step up and step forward to get your voice into the debate. Write an e-mail or make a call to your representatives and senators in the Legislature, and tell them that balancing the budget on the backs of public employees is not innovative or forward-thinking. Get yourself – and a friend – to a legislative forum that your representatives hold and tell them that asking public employees to pay 5 percent of their health-care premiums while not receiving a salary increase is mean-spirited and ineffectual in addressing the larger issues associated with the revenue shortfall. Finally, ask them if every idea is on the table as they tackle this challenge. Ask them what, if anything, they have asked of North Dakota’s corporate friends and neighbors to see us through these difficult budgetary times. Ask our Governor the same questions. If we are truly all in this together, then, by God, let’s ALL be in this together! Let’s share the sacrifices and the credit when we finally get through this tough time. Then, once we get through this - and we will! – let’s work together some more to see that we do not have to go through this again.

Let’s go!

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The Enormous Storm Cloud/Kushnirov - stock.adobe.com

BUDGET ISSUES LOOM OVERHEAD Revenue forecast further complicates funding for education, public services By Tom Gerhardt, tom.gerhardt@ndunited.org

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There is a metaphoric dark cloud hanging over the state of North Dakota the last several months, and it is the uncertainty surrounding our state budget. Here we are just past the halfway point of the 65th Legislative Assembly, and serious questions remain about budgets for all state agencies.

That’s what lawmakers have to work with as they head toward the finish line, sometime in April. The forecast for general fund revenues for 2017-19 also shows a shortfall of $103 million. In both instances, significant losses in sales and use taxes are the primary reason that revenue collection is down.

The latest revenue forecast released March 9 shows North Dakota is $46 million short for the remainder of the 2015-17 biennium, which ends June 30.

Gov. Doug Burgum addressed a packed Brynhild Haugland Room ahead of the forecast release and told legislators, “The decisions are going to become even more difficult.” ND United Voices


Burgum also used the opportunity to make another public call for his proposal that public employees pay 5 percent of their health insurance premiums, which would save the state $11 million. The governor did mention during the forecast the possibility of giving state employees a 1 percent raise in pay in the second year of the biennium, if revenue increases more than projected. Right now, no raises are on the table. And Burgum’s budget proposal calls for no raises for state employees, and no increase for the perpupil payment for K-12 schools. Burgum also continued his call to increase the cap on the amount of oil tax revenue that goes into the general fund, from $300 million to $900 million. President Nick Arhculeta stated that North Dakota United will remain firm in standing up for public employees, and the budget should not be balanced on the backs of public employees. “Now, given the most recent disappointing budget forecast, our Legislature faces a challenge of its own: how to serve the people of North Dakota without doing irreparable damage to the social fabric of our great state. It is time for reasonable solutions that ask for shared sacrifice and do not result in balancing the budget on the backs of North Dakota’s outstanding public employees,” President Archuleta said. To this point in the session, higher education has faced the most significant cuts, at 20 percent across the board. Other agencies are in the 10 percent to 20 percent range, with all feeling the effects of a limited revenue stream. More than 600 FTE positions will be cut or left unfilled. Real people will lose jobs. The question is, how many? Office of Management and Budget Director Pam Sharp said the budget status at Crossover (provided by Legislative Council) shows the state is $512,407,743 in the red. Sharp said that’s not unusual at Crossover. “At halftime, or at Crossover, the legislative budget status is always upside down,” Sharp said. “It’s always that way across the board. I think two years ago they were way over a billion upside down.” Sharp says legislators were very conservative when they drew up projections in January. “Even when the Legislature adjusted downward, it still missed that forecast by a bunch,” Sharp said, and that she “would not expect there to be any additional revenue that would surface as a result of the new revenue forecast.” Given this forecast, expect legislators to continue to be conservative with spending while moving forward. “It’s much easier to give back than to take away when you get this far in the process,” Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said. He says many tough decisions have already been made, but is quick to point out anything can happen at the end of the session. Sharp says a couple of key things must be decided to balance the ndunited.org

budget. One is how legislators decide to treat property tax relief. “If they are going to go with that social services takeover, which means that would be permanent, ongoing expenditures, or if they’re going to continue with their 12 percent buy down, which they consider one-time money,” Sharp said. The second decision lawmakers have to wrestle with is how much oil revenue money they will send to the general fund. In recent years, that number has been capped at $300 million. However, legislators have pushed that number to $400 million, while, as mentioned, Governor Burgum has proposed $900 million. Sharp says she expects the answer lies somewhere in between and won’t be determined until the waning days of the session. NDU President Archuleta says the budget is about more than numbers, it’s about people. “And these aren’t just people doing their jobs, they are providing vital services that help our kids, that help our elderly in our state, they keep our roads safe, they keep are wonderful system of state parks running. All of the things that we have come to enjoy and to appreciate are on the chopping block in this budget,” Archuleta said. He wants to make sure legislators don’t do something in the short term to balance the budget that will have long-term implications. That includes higher education. “We have to be very careful not to make North Dakota’s colleges and universities – which are terrific – less appealing to people from outside of our region who want to attend school here,” he said. “We want to make sure that the vital public services our kids have, whether it’s for mental health services, whether it’s for the parks or for funding schools — all of those things have to be protected in the long term. So, we have to be super careful about our short-term solutions to those problems.” Senator Wardner agrees with the “people” part of the equation and hopes lawmakers end the session without having to add public employee contribution to health insurance premiums. “We’ve got a lot of people that go above and beyond their job to help the state of North Dakota. Just think of the knowledge and the skills and the expertise that they have. There’s a reason this state runs very efficiently. I know some people don’t think so, but it does, believe me,” he said. Archuleta agrees, saying he expected legislators to recognize what voters in North Dakota have for a long time. “Public employees have provided the citizens of North Dakota with vital public services without fail, despite the loss of hundreds of colleagues through budget cuts in recent years,” he said. “North Dakota’s dedicated public employees work tirelessly every day to overcome the challenges associated with a growing workload and fewer resources to call upon to get the job done.” 5


Education Perspectives

TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT School year is almost over, and it’s a good time to pause

Can you believe that we’re now preparing for the last quarter of the school year? It’s amazing how fast that came. Requisitions, state assessments, IEP meetings, PLCs, fieldtrips, final reports, professional development registration for summer, evaluations, and skill reviews are among just a few of the things on the “to do” list before the students are dismissed for the summer. You might consider adding bargaining to the list.

By Karen Christensen Vice President of Education

Reflecting on the school year can be difficult, but it is important to take time to evaluate if goals were met or missed and to establish goals for a stronger year moving forward.”

Self-evaluation of the year to move forward is a concept at the top of the list. The anxiousness of wrapping up the year brings a mix of emotions. Feelings of pride considering the student achievements, and progress throughout the year swell within you. With this feeling comes the feeling of regret about what you could have done better or implemented to meet the needs of the students. Even with these emotions comes the feeling of nostalgia as your students move on to meet new challenges. Reflecting on the school year can be difficult, but it is important to take time to evaluate if goals were met or missed and to establish goals for a stronger year moving forward. Breathe! Use the quiet stillness of your classroom during an early morning before students arrive. Completely clear your time to only reflect. Take slow deep breaths and reflect. Now spend a few minutes getting in touch with the feelings of the year. Take notes to remind yourself about the goals you set for the current year and establish new goals for the school year coming up. Consider the students that bring the feelings of pride to the surface. What were the challenges for the students who brought the feeling of regret? What do I want to do to change the dynamic of what I am feeling at this point of the year? Look around at your classroom. Consider the environment down to the smallest detail. Sit in a student’s desk. Get the perspective from their viewpoint and describe the feeling of the room. Can it move and transition more easily? Is there clutter that can be removed? Are the anchor charts and posters useful or distracting? How can I make them more efficient? Look at the curriculum. Look through student evidence and final products. Did the outcomes I was expecting happen? Was I able to incorporate variety in my teaching strategies? Use the feelings that are coming to the surface to develop the professional goals you want to work on during the summer. Pick only a few goals for the upcoming year. Include student relationships in this goal setting as well as professional growth. Take time for yourself to rejuvenate and energize. You have made a difference in the lives of your students. You have moved education in the direction that is beneficial for all stake holders. Now it is time to take care of yourself to move into the new school year with full tank of energy. Take a breath and enjoy your summer! Thank you for all you do! “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that’s your own self.” - Aidous Hexley.

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ND United Voices


WHERE HAS THE REVENUE GONE? Legislature has steadily decreased tax rates, causing our current problem

Public Service Perspectives

Over the past eight to 10 years, North Dakota has seen tremendous growth in its economy due to the increased activity in the Bakken and in North Dakota’s number one industry, agriculture. The growth in these two industries led to an increase in general fund revenue collections and a growth in personal incomes. General fund revenues grew from $2.7 billion in 2007-09 to $5.8 billion in 20132015. The oil activity out west and the statewide economic growth required increased spending on infrastructure, social services, K-12 education, higher education and other programs that were and continue to be a priority for the citizens of North Dakota. K-12 education, human services and higher education accounted for 69.2 percent of general fund appropriations for the 2015-17 biennium. To continue funding these priorities, the state needs strong revenues, but over the past eight years the Legislature has reduced the tax revenue collected by slashing tax rates. To understand why revenues are down, I need to take you back to 2008, before the merger that formed North Dakota United, when North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA) and North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) joined forces to defeat Measure 2. This ballot measure asked the citizens of North Dakota if they wanted to reduce the individual income tax rates by 50 percent and the corporate income tax rates by 15 percent. Taxpayers agreed that a balanced tax structure was important and defeated the measure by a margin of 70-30. Since the defeat of Measure 2 in November of 2008, the Legislature has passed bills reducing the individual income tax rates by 12.3 percent in 2009, 17.9 percent in 2011, 19.3 percent in 2013, and 10 percent in 2015, for a total reduction of 49.5 percent. The top corporate income tax rate has dropped by 33.69 percent, and the bottom rate by 45.76 percent. To put this in perspective, individual income tax collections peaked in 2013 at $617 million while the North Dakota economy was booming. Now it is estimated that the 2017 individual income tax collections will only be $338 million. Corporate income tax collection peaked in 2014 at $239 million, and it is estimated that it will only generate $68 million in 2017. A portion of the reduction in revenue is attributable to the slowing economy, but the reduction is also largely attributable to the continual reduction in the income tax rates. On top of these cuts, the 2015 Legislature passed SB 2292, which will change the way corporate income taxes are collected in the future. Prior to 2016, a taxpayer was required to use an equally weighted factor comprised of a taxpayer’s North Dakota property, payroll and sales to its property, payroll and sales everywhere, divided by three. SB 2292, which is being phased in over the next three years, will allow a taxpayer to make an election to use a single sales factor to determine the amount of its income that will be taxed in North Dakota. This may be in down in the weeds in tax policy, but this was a gift to the multinational Fortune 500 companies that have activity in North Dakota.

By Gary Feist Vice President of Public Employees A portion of the reduction

in revenue is attributable to the slowing economy, but the reduction is also largely attributable to the continual reduction in the income tax rates.”

If a multinational corporation has significant property in the state and is a large employer, but does not have North Dakota destination sales, they could make the election to use the single sales factor and not pay corporate income tax. This bill only created winners, because the taxpayer makes the election that enables them to pay the lease amount of tax. The estimated fiscal note of this bill was $124 million, but nobody really knows how much it will cost when fully implanted in 2019. North Dakota’s economy has slowed, which has resulted in less revenue, but the reduction in revenue is also attributable to the Legislature not listening to the people who said no to rate reductions in 2008. Now we are being told we have a spending problem, but I believe we have a revenue problem that will make it difficult for the state to fund its priorities of K-12 education, public services, and higher education. State agencies and higher education institutions have had their budgets cut 10 percent to 20 percent, state employee salary increases are expected to be zero for the next two years, and if that wasn’t enough, it has been floated that state employees should pay 5 percent of their health-care premium. We must make sure that the Legislature does not balance the state’s budget on the backs of public employees. As members of NDU, we need to educate our co-workers, family and friends, about why revenues are down and how it will affect the funding of public services. Legislators have said all options are on the table regarding cuts, so why aren’t revenue enhancements on the table? Let’s start having the conversation about growing revenues again by passing a slight increase to the rates that have been so dramatically cut over the past eight years.

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FUNDING:

House Bill 1029 Acceptance of Federal Funds, Regulatory Requirements on State Government Position: Monitor in second half, due to an amendment Outcome: Passed, 82–10 HB 1029 says each state agency must go through a checklist before accepting federal funding, including if the funding subjects the state to undue oversight or regulation. President Nick Archuleta testified against part of this bill, which initially included higher education. Our biggest concern with the bill in its original form was how it would hurt higher ed faculty receiving federal grants. We were able to get higher ed removed but will continue to monitor it to make sure they do not get put back in.

2017 CROSSOVER

REPORT

House Bill 1162 Relating to Competition Between Government and Private Industry Position: Opposed Outcome: Turned into a study; passed, 83–8 HB 1162 looks at competition between government and private industry. We were pleased to see this turned into a study that calls for determining where government competition impacts businesses and industries. Senate Bill 2180 Intent to Refuse Federal Education Funding Tied to Federal Mandates Position: Oppose Outcome: Failed 43–3 SB 2180 was a misguided attempt to refuse federal funding for local school districts. What the bill sponsor didn’t know was that school districts can already refuse federal funding, but still must follow federal mandates. We testified against this bill, citing the loss of revenue to school districts that would have to be made up by taxpayers.

RETIREMENT:

House Bill 1023 PERS Budget Position: Opposed new amendments Outcome: Passed, 76–15 HB 1023 proposes a major change to how PERS is governed. An 80+ page amendment changes the current operation to a PERS advisory retirement board, with the governor appointing an executive director. The amendments have never had a hearing, thus no public input. We believe the amendments put government in a tenuous position, as fiduciary of both PERS and State of North Dakota. Also, the PERS Board loses autonomy and the legislation injects an unhealthy amount of legislative politics into an area that works great now. And finally, where changes like this are in play (like in Alaska) the government has used its authority to change to a defined-contribution retirement plan, from a defined-benefits plan. 8

ND United Voices


Senate Bill 2030 Statutory Reference to North Dakota United Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 46–0 SB 2030 began as a clean-up bill last session to update language in Century Code from “North Dakota Education Association” to “North Dakota United.” President Nick Archuleta testified in support of this bill, which could have removed an NDU member from the Board of Directors of the Teacher Fund for Retirement (TFFR). We are happy to report that the language has been updated and we have maintained our membership on the TFFR board.

RIGHTS:

House Bill 1168 Restricting Compensation and Travel Reimbursement for Public Employees Attending Legislative Meetings Position: Opposed Outcome: Failed, 86–5 This bill would have forced public employees to use vacation and to pay for their own travel expenses to attend legislative meetings, unless they were providing testimony. We believe our dedicated public employees attend these hearings and meetings to better understand and perform their jobs. House Bill 1246 State Employees Claims of Employment Discrimination Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 62–25 HB 1246, introduced by Rep. George Keiser, calls for a streamlining the grievance process by allowing an employee to bypass his or her supervisor and go to the Department of Labor and Human Rights or the Federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The employee also has the right to waive the employer’s and division’s grievance processes, and take the case to district court. Senate Bill 2135 Initiated & Referred Measure Study Commission Position: Support Outcome: Turned into study; passed, 38–8 SB 2135 creates an initiated and referred measure commission to study with the purpose of looking at the initiated and referred measure laws of North Dakota. We worked to get ourselves added to this committee, which will allow us to work to ensure that the people’s voice continues to be heard through the initiated and referred measure process and not be limited. Senate Bill 2336 Contributions to and Expenditures of Campaigns for Initiated or Referred Measures Position: Oppose Outcome: Failed, 38–5 SB 2236 relates to contributions to and expenditures of campaigns for initiated or referred measures. It would have ndunited.org

limited the ability to spend NDU resources on initiated and referred measures in the future.

SAFETY:

House Bill 1278 Guns in Government Buildings Position: Oppose Outcome: Failed, 78–16 HB 1278 failed because another bill, HB 1190, covers it. HB 1190 was a bill introduced to allow conceal/carry at public gatherings. It was amended to give the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Governor, Speaker of the House, or President Pro Tempore of the Senate authorization to approve an individual to carry a concealed weapon on property owned or leased by the state. House Bill 1310 Guns in Schools Position: Oppose Outcome: Passed, 73–19 HB 1310 was amended in committee and turned into a pilot program of up to 10 schools statewide. Amended, it is a much better bill than was initially introduced. It allows anyone 21 and over who has completed the South Dakota School Sentinel training program to carry a concealed weapon in schools. The training amounts to 80 hours in six subjects, and we think that’s not enough considering the circumstances. We also have questions about liability and insurance in regards to school districts.

SALARY & BENEFITS:

House Bill 1303 Prohibit State Agencies from Filling Vacated Employee Positions Position: Oppose Outcome: Passed, 84–8 HB 1303 initially put a hiring freeze on state employees through the end of April. The bill was amended to include some exceptions that include allowing the Governor to authorize filling a job deemed essential to protecting the life and safety of the citizens of this state. We are proud of the vital services provided by public employees. When positions are cut, the work doesn’t go away. We recognize the effort and dedication provided by these public servants on behalf of us all. These are vital public services that North Dakotans have come to expect, and services they deserve. House Bill 1401 Collective Bargaining for Law Enforcement Officers and Full-Time (Paid) Firefighters Position: Support Outcome: Failed, 75–19 HB 1401 would have provided collective-bargaining rights for law-enforcement officers and full-time firefighters. The parties would negotiate in good faith regarding the terms and 9


2017 CROSSOVER

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conditions of employment, employer-employee relations. Law enforcement and full-time firefighters would not have been able to strike under the agreement.

TEACHING & LEARNING:

House Bill 1264 Non-Resident Tuition Rates Position: Oppose Outcome: Failed, 53–38 HB 1264 would have set tuition rates for non-resident students at a higher, fixed rate. For instance, the bill called for at least 115 percent of the resident tuition rate for nonresident students from the state of Minnesota. We believe with tight budgets across the University System, passing this bill would make it more difficult to enroll. House Bill 1265 Number of Non-Resident Students Admitted Under Reciprocity Position: Oppose Outcome: Failed, 65–26 HB 1265 would have set limits on the number of nonresident students admitted to the North Dakota University System by percentage through the year 2025–26, based on the number or resident students admitted. Again, we believe this bill would have limited out-of-state student enrollment in the North Dakota University System, and with tight budgets we believe that is a mistake. House Bill 1318 Regional Education Associations Position: Oppose Outcome: Turned into study; passed, 58–31 HB 1318 would have repealed a portion of Century Code that would have abolished REAs. NDU testified in support of REAs, citing their quality professional development offerings and networking opportunities. The bill has been turned into a study, which we hope is killed in the Senate. House Bill 1382 Establishment of Education Savings Accounts/Vouchers Position: Oppose Outcome: Turned into a study. Passed, 72–17 HB 1382 would use public tax dollars for non-public education. NDU President Nick Archuleta testified vehemently against this cookie-cutter bill, crafted outside of North Dakota. Ultimately, the House Education Committee turned this bill into a study, which we hope is killed in the Senate. 10

House Bill 1432 Authority of the Supt. of Public Instruction & Education Standards Position: Oppose Outcome: Split into two sections on the floor. Failed, 62–27 & 78–10. HB 1432 was introduced as an anti-Common Core bill that would limit the power of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, erase new standards written for North Dakota students by North Dakota educators and replace those with over-a-decade-old standards from Massachusetts. In an attempt to get part of the bill passed, the sponsor split it in two parts on the House floor. Both sections failed. Senate Bill 2186 Innovative Pilot Program to Improve Student Educational Performance Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 44–0 SB 2186 has been one of the highlights of the session. President Archuleta testified in strong support of this bill, which would provide school districts with flexibility for teachers and learners and “unlock the creativity of teachers and learners alike.” We stand in strong support of continued innovation in education. Senate Bill 2243 Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 42–4 SB 2243 is a major step in recruiting new teachers into in geographical locations identified as having a teacher shortage or critical need or both. A new teacher could have up to $25,000 of students loans paid if they meet the criteria in the program. Senate Bill 2250 Early Childhood Education Programs Position: Support Outcome: Passed, 45–0 SB 2250 provides early childhood education to children throughout the state. NDU testified in support of this bill, with President Archuleta saying, “Research overwhelmingly indicates that young learners who experience early childhood education are far more likely to experience longlasting success throughout their academic careers. That success leads to the likelihood that the student will graduate college, work or military-ready.” And while NDU continues to support universal Pre-K, and recognize there was another bill out there, we believe 2250 is the vehicle to move this vital service forward. ND United Voices


PREMIUM CONTRIBUTION THREAT LINGERS Increasing employee contribution to health care would be pay cut By Tom Gerhardt, tom.gerhardt@ndunited.org

Budget woes have public employees in the crosshairs as we enter the second half of the legislative session. It’s crystal clear that pay increases are not on the table for state workers and higher education, but a pay cut could be if legislators ultimately implement Gov. Doug Burgum’s recommendation that public employees contribute 5 percent to their health insurance premiums. Numbers show that would save the state around $11 million in the upcoming biennium. That’s money lawmakers may need to tap into at the end of April. It’s a good news/bad news situation. The good news is neither the Senate nor the House introduced a bill calling for the 5 percent buy-in. In fact, members of both chambers have gone on the record, saying that neither side has an appetite to put that burden on public employees. That includes Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. “We will continue to want to pay all of the health insurance, and I mean it’s pretty simple. If you don’t give the people a raise and then you kick them with that they have to pay for 5 percent of their own health insurance? At this point we’re just not going to do it because we do feel that our state employees work hard for us. We’ve got a lot of people that go above and beyond their job to help the state of North Dakota,” Wardner said. However, Wardner and others were quick to say that anything can happen as the session winds down — especially if money is tight. The March 9 revenue forecast lends reason to believe tough budgetary decisions will have to be made, and the 5 percent health insurance premium buy-in could be introduced. House Minority Leader Corey Mock says if the 5 percent contribution goes through, and to be clear that’s an “if ” right now, it would equate to a pay cut for public employees. “It’s likely that co-pays and deductibles will go up to minimize premium increases. Even with these efforts, a 5 percent employee contribution would cost an employee with family health insurance $870 each year to maintain their benefits – all with no increase in compensation,” Mock said. Mock says another idea has been floated calling for future state employee hires to pitch in. “Representative Randy Boehning offered an amendment to require all new hires after June 30, 2017, to pay 5 percent of their health insurance premiums. This amendment was not debated or considered at the time, but the Boehning amendment may re-emerge later in the

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session as appropriation bills are negotiated,” Mock said. North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta has said the state needs to look elsewhere to balance the budget, and not on the backs of public employees who provide valuable services for all North Dakotans. “We don’t look at these as public employee jobs; these are people. And these are people who contribute to our communities, they live among us, they worship where we worship, they send their kids to our schools. Behind every job cut, there is a person and a family and an impact, and we want to tread that line very, very carefully,” Archuleta said. Senator Wardner also praised state employees, saying, “Just think of the knowledge and the skills and the expertise that they have. There’s a reason this state runs very efficiently. I know some people don’t think so, but it does, believe me.” The state of North Dakota has paid 100 percent of employee healthcare premiums since the early 1980s, according to North Dakota Public Employee Retirement System (NDPERS) Executive Director Sparb Collins. Archuleta added that fully paid health insurance helps to recruit and retain public employees. “The state of North Dakota, the people who live here, have come to expect great public service,” Archuleta said. “I’m afraid that if all we are going to do is cut, cut, cut, we’re not going to be able to maintain that level that the people of North Dakota have come to expect.” Representative Mock goes back to the 0-0 pay increase for the next biennium, coupled with inflation, as enough to constitute a pay cut for public employees, without even considering the potential contribution to their health-insurance premium. He said he’s working to do all he can to keep public employees “whole” throughout the upcoming biennium. “North Dakota has an opportunity to be a low-tax, business-friendly state,” Mock said. “But shifting tax burdens and balancing budgets on the backs of our workforce is not the way to do it. We should step forward and take a big-picture look at our priorities, our funding sources and our long-term objectives. We can keep more money in the pockets of North Dakota families if we make smart investments, develop strategic tax policies, and work with all levels of government to live within our means.”

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RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES As a public educator or employee, do I have the right to be politically active?

Yes.

The simple rule to remember is this: You can take political action on your own time with your own equipment. Do not use your school, university or worksite e-mail address or computer to contact your elected officials or engage in other political activity. When you do so, you open up those communications to public records and inquiries by your employer. This is why North Dakota United consistently asks for personal emails, so that we can freely communicate about political issues without running into these concerns. Here are the statutes that govern our political activity.

1. ND Century Code 34-11.1-02. Political activities.

Except when on duty or acting in an official capacity and except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, no employee may be prohibited from engaging in political activity or be denied the right to refrain from engaging in such activity.

2. ND Century Code 44-08-19. Offices and Officers. Political activities by public employees prohibited while on duty Definition.

1. No public employee may engage in political activities while on duty or in uniform. Although nothing in this section prevents any such employee from becoming or continuing to be a member or officer of a political club or organization, from attendance at a political meeting, from contributing to or otherwise supporting candidates of the employee’s choice, from enjoying entire freedom from all interference in casting a vote or favoring candidates, or from seeking or accepting election or appointment to public office, the governing body of any political subdivision may adopt appropriate ordinances prohibiting public employees from engaging in political activities while such employees are on duty or in uniform.

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Grand Forks: The Grand Forks Education Association hosted a special event for Read Across America on Sunday, March 5.

NDU, locals, educators and Cat in the Hat help to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org Students from Dorothy Moses and Northridge Elementary Schools in Bismarck joined Gov. Doug Burgum and North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta for a special reading event and proclamation signing at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 2, in the Memorial Hall, to celebrate the annual National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day. NEA’s Read Across America Day, which celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the joys of reading, expects more than 45 million readers across the nation, both young and old, to pick up a book and read. Governor Burgum signed a proclamation, declaring March 2 as Read Across North Dakota Day, and he read “Oh, the Places You Will Go!” to second- and third-grade students from Bismarck. “To honor the good doctor and celebrate the fun and value of reading, North Dakota United was so happy to team up with Governor Burgum on Read Across North Dakota Day for a flurry (or furry) of reading excitement,” President Archuleta said. Here are a few pictures from Read Across America celebrations that were held all across the state. You can view more online by clicking on the Photo Gallery at the bottom of the front page of our website, www.ndunited.org, or by visiting www.flickr. com/photos/ndunited. ND United Voices


Top: Gov. Doug Burgum reads “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day at the North Dakota Capitol. Rolla: Seniors from Rolla High School read to elementary students on Read Across America Day.

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Bottom: Children from Northridge and Dorothy Moses Elementary School pose for a picture with Governor Burgum and the Cat in the Hat on Read Across America Day at the Capitol.

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SILENT EPIDEMIC

NDU, attorney want to shine a light on increasing violence in classrooms NDU Attorney Mike Geiermann presents Safe Classrooms for students and educators seminar at the Radisson Inn, Bismarck, on February 15.

By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org

“My work in education has put me in danger.” This perspective is not unique. One educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared her story with us about an incident that happened in her school in which she was attacked by a student. Every day, in classrooms across our state and throughout this country, teachers and education support professionals put their safety and well-being on the line. They are being attacked and injured by students with behavioral problems. And North Dakota United hears too often from our members who feel endangered and abandoned by their school districts. “I’m now concerned that I have contracted HIV or Hepatitis B or C, or other blood-borne/ bodily fluid transmitted diseases. Why? Because today, I was bitten by an angry student while I was in the ‘line of duty.’ “I am a mother, I am an educator and I am a taxpayer,” our unnamed member said. “I venture to say that if the rest of the public could witness what goes on inside the four walls of my school on a daily basis, they would be shocked and appalled. One question might be, ‘Why do they let kids DO that?’ A possible answer could be that we don’t always have a policy or plan to combat the disruptions that students and staff endure every day. Often, we don’t have the manpower, or money, or room, or permission to effectively deal with a violent student.” Educators are experiencing violent outbursts in the classroom more frequently than ever. North Dakota United is hearing about more of these incidents. But no one wants to talk about it in the daylight. We couldn’t find any educators who wanted to talk about abuse in the

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classroom “on the record.” Because they are scared. They’re scared of the violence and threats, and they’re terrified of retribution and retaliation for speaking out. And school administrators are scared of legal action and bad publicity.

get themselves in more trouble than they can imagine when they have notice of a bad condition, a serious condition, an unhealthy condition, and they don’t do anything about it. And unless you document, document, document, they’re going to be right.”

NDU attorney Mike Geiermann has met with numerous educators who have been attacked in the classroom by students, and have felt abandoned by school administrators. “There is one thing that they absolutely hate and fear,” Geiermann said. “And that’s bad press. They hate it. So your issues in regards to getting beat up, getting kicked, getting bit and scratched and all the other stuff, as long as the school district can keep that under wraps, at a very, very low level, so it doesn’t end up on cable access TV, so it doesn’t end up in the newspaper, the school district will be just fine with that.”

Be sure to contact your building representative, local association leadership or the NDU UniServ Director assigned to your region. You can contact the NDU Help Center any time at 701-223-0450 or helpcenter@ndunited.org.

“The number of teachers and support staff that have reached out to NDU and our locals regarding violent or aggressive student behaviors has been noteworthy,” said NDU UniServ Director Geoff Greenwood. “We are hearing more and more about the challenges of educators in dealing with students that suffer from behavioral problems. In every one of those conversations, employees want to know how they can be protected, not only from personal liability, but physical harm.” Geiermann and ND United held a seminar for Bismarck Education Association members in February on the subject of safety in the classroom. More than 50 BEA members filled a meeting room at the Radisson Inn to learn more about what they can do to protect themselves. Geiermann will be presenting Safe Classrooms for Students and Educators seminars across the state, beginning with a date in Fargo on March 27. Future seminars will be posted on www.ndunited.org. “This topic is near and dear to my heart,” Geiermann said at the start, in Bismarck. “I had a sister who taught for 25 years in the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, and her career ended when she got kicked by a 16-year-old boy in the knee so hard that it broke her kneecap. So, teachers getting abused, and teachers getting beat up, spit at, bitten and scratched is a topic, like I say, is near and dear to me. I think we just need to get some information out there, and I’m going to try to give you some solutions.” Geiermann led educators through the 15 principles to the development of policies on restraint and seclusion from the U.S. Department of Education. For reference, you can find this document online at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/seclusion/ restraints-and-seclusion-resources.pdf. Chief amongst Geiermann’s recommendations for an educator who is being routinely abused in the classroom is to “document, document, document.” “If this is happening to you, document, document, document,” Geiermann said. “Who, what, when, where and how. When you come into my office and say, ‘Mike, I had this altercation with this kid four and a half months ago,’ … I want to know exactly what happened. Write it down. Put it on your computer. You don’t have to write an essay about it. Just write what happened. Who was there? Who saw this? You don’t have to turn this into administrators, but keep it for yourself.” You need to have proof that an incident occurred, and that it was addressed. “Eventually, something bad is going to happen. And when your school district gets sued – not by me but somebody else – they’re going to come in, and they’re going to throw their hands up. And you know what they’re going to say? ‘We didn’t know there was a problem.’ School districts, governmental agencies

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“One of the things that we have to do is we have to get the conversation going,” Geiermann said. “And I would never suggest that one of you individually carry that. But it’s got to be more of a group and it’s got to be an association. That’s the way that you carry the message … that educators are getting beat up, and nobody’s doing anything about it. Nobody’s trying to protect them.” No one wants to be the one to call the police on students. Administrators don’t, and teachers don’t, either. This was most evident during the closing questions posed to Geiermann at the end of his presentation in Bismarck. “I think we’re told to diminish that,” one educator said. “They’ve also said not to call the police,” another person said. “That’s a crime,” Geiermann stated. “Someone breaks into your house and beats you up with a baseball bat … and you’re told not to call the cops. Really? I’m the victim of a crime. That doesn’t make any sense to me.” “Our educators want to do what is best for the kids,” Greenwood said at the end of our Bismarck seminar. “Today’s presentation was put together with the hope of providing educators with information and tools they need to protect themselves in situations where they don’t feel they are getting the support they need. You cannot put students first if teachers don’t feel safe.” For our anonymous educator who was bit by a student, the incident drove her to pursue medical attention. She went into the doctor to have an HIV test. The results came back negative, but the doctor told her that if the student’s family didn’t allow the student to be tested, she would have to go through a full year of periodic HIV tests. The student’s family initially refused, but the school’s administrator was able to convince the family to consent, and the student tested negative. “This spared me of any further testing,” she said. “North Dakota Workers Compensation covered my medical expenses, and the child remains in our school. With more maturity and a closer supervision regimen, this student has made gains.” She is still troubled by the incident, though. “I believe school should be a safe, nurturing environment for all who enter,” she said. “This has been the vision of our schools for generations. However, because of the severe behavioral needs of some of our students, school has ceased to be the safe, nurturing place that we all dreamed we could make it. “We have adopted many zero tolerance guidelines for our schools and, for the most part, these have been helpful and necessary. I’m wondering though, why we haven’t developed the same zero tolerance regarding violence by students toward other students or staff ? “I am now four years from retirement,” she said, in closing. “I never used to count.”

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EARLY ENROLLMENT OPTION Education employees can sign form to access member benefits early By Gary Rath, gary.rath@ndunited.org

North Dakota United is offering an Early Enrollment Option for the 2017-18 membership year for NDU members employed in public education. This option is available starting April 1 through July 31. “The Early Enrollment Option provides another opportunity for our education members to visit with their colleagues about the many reasons to join their professional union,” NDU President Nick Archuleta said. Archuleta emphasizes that the organizing of members is a year-round program of NDU. “The Early Enrollment option is another tool for members and locals to use to engage in conversations with potential members.” Tom Young, president of the Grand Forks Education Association (GFEA) and an NDU board member, said that GFEA is planning to use this program as part of a spring membership drive. He says that they plan on having one-to-one conversations with perspective members that either chose not to join or were missed as part of the traditional fall enrollment process. “The early enrollment option will reduce the workload for our membership organizers in the fall,” Young said. “This program will allow our building leaders to concentrate on the new hires in the fall and will result in a stronger local union in the future.” To enroll in this program, the member signs a form pledging to pay dues starting on Sept. 1. In exchange the members receive the National Education Association (NEA) $1 million Educator’s Employment Liability insurance, and access to a number of the NEA member benefits products and services, starting on the date that they sign the Early Enrollment form. Forms are available on the NDU website. At the time they join NDU via the Early Enrollment Option, the new member selects paying their dues either through payroll deduction or an automatic withdrawal from their bank account. Their name and demographic information will be printed on the reenrollment rosters that local associations receive from NDU in August. For more information on this program and how it can assist a local in recruiting members, please contact the NDU Help Center at helpcenter@ndunited.org or 701-223-0450. 16

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ESP OF THE YEAR NAMED

LuAnn Burris of Grand Forks honored for years of service By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org

Every year since 1992, the National Education Association has selected one outstanding Education Support Professional (ESP) to recognize for the contributions they make to their school, community and profession with the NEA ESP of the Year Award. North Dakota United members select their nominee to this national contest from our ranks of qualified, dedicated and devoted ESPs across the landscape of N.D. This year’s NDU ESP of the Year was LuAnn Burris of Grand Forks. Burris has been a member of the North Dakota United since 1981 and has been active in her school and community, and with the association. Burris is employed as a secretary at Community Alternative High School, working with the Adult Learning Center and Transition Program, the Encore Program, Drivers Education Program and is also a liaison for the School for the Blind. As the school secretary, Burris keeps the school running. Kristen Marcott, classroom teacher at Community Alternative High School, says that, “Lu is not only a secretary in our school office, but she really gets her hands in on the We are Community Day activities, and other motivating activities that we can offer our students. She is constantly thinking about activities that will engage our students as learners and keep them coming back to school.” Eileen Zygarlicke, English teacher at Community High School, stated, “Students continually come to her throughout the day with needs, as does the staff. No question is too simple for her to answer or too insignificant for her to research if she doesn’t know the answer. I have no idea what we’d do without Lu in our corner.”

LuAnn Burris 2017 NDU Education Support Professional of the Year

Burris’ work also expands outside the school in that she is currently the Co-Executive Director for the North Dakota State Cheer Association and was formerly the president. Prior to that, she was the N.D. Cheerleading Coach of the year in 2006. Everyone who knows Burris states that she is a dedicated advocate for what each student needs. Burris is actively involved in her community through many roles. In addition to her role as co-executive director of the North Dakota Cheer Association, she is on the leadership team of the HOPE Church’s Women’s Ministry team and many others. Community members said that Burris coordinates student activities, such as painting soup bowls that are sold to raise money for the food shelter; she plans winter activities, sledding, skating, winter snow days for the students and lines up transportation and supplies for the kids that don’t have them. Around Christmas, she sets up craft sessions for students to “make and take” gifts they can give to family at minimal cost or sells premade crafts for very little. Burris is very active in her church and volunteers or coordinates many of the activities they hold. Besides all of this, she also is the United Way representative for the schools and takes tickets at most swim meets. Burris’ personal and professional goals go hand in hand. She said she aspires to be the best mother, grandmother, daughter and sister to her family, and to be an involved and positive member of her community. Additionally, she said her professional goal is to be an active and positive influence in her school and school district. “I want to treat all students and their parents with kindness and acceptance, as you never know what obstacles they have in their lives or battles that they are living,” Burris said. LuAnn’s involvement with the union has led to much advancement for ESP in her district. She helped to secure a classified personnel policy manual that led to more respect for ESP in the district. Prior to the development of this manual, ESP were hired and fired without concern. She saw that this was not right and stepped up to change it. She has also worked hard for ESP to be seen as an integral part of the district and worked towards ESP being treated more inclusive and fairly in pay and benefits. Burris’ involvement in her school, community, and union have enhanced the ESP image with everyone she comes in contact with.

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All of us at North Dakota United wish to congratulate LuAnn Burris on being named the 2017 ESP of the Year, and thank her for all of the many years of service she has given to her profession and her union.

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REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES TO BE HELD IN APRIL NDU Regional Assembly – East April 22 Hilton Garden Inn, Grand Forks, ND

NDU Regional Assembly – West April 29 Radisson Hotel, Bismarck, ND

North Dakota United will be hosting two Regional Assemblies, instead of our state Delegate Assembly. This is being done in accordance with the NDU Constitution, which states:

Delegate Report Form Each local is guaranteed at least one representative. Larger locals are allowed 1 per 50 members. If you would like to serve as a representative for your local or chapter, please contact your local president, or call the NDU office at 701-223-0450 to find out who your local representative is.

Section 3, Regional Assemblies: “In the years in which there is no Delegate Assembly, two Regional Assemblies, one composed of the Northwest and Southwest regions, and one composed of the Northeast and Southeast regions, shall be held within those regions. In addition to holding elections, the purpose of the regional meetings shall be for training and professional development. Regional Assemblies cannot amend the constitution or bylaws, nor can they change the budget and dues adopted at the last Delegate Assembly. Delegates may pass advisory motions or actions for consideration by the board of directors.” Each Regional Assembly will be held in conjunction with the NDU Bargaining Conference. Statewide delegates to the National Education Association Representative Assembly in Boston will be elected. NDU Bargaining Conference NDU’s Bargaining Conferences are being held in conjunction with the NDU Regional Delegate Assemblies. The Bargaining Conference is designed to inform and prepare local associations and negotiators on many different aspects of negotiations. If you’d like more information on our Bargaining Conference agenda, or to register, please visit www.ndunited.org/news/2017ndu-regional-delegate-assemblies-and-bargaining-conference.   

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Social & Registration A social and registration will be held Friday evening (April 21East; April 28-West) at the hotel, from 7-10 p.m. Hotel Accommodations If you need hotel accommodations, please contact the hotel directly. When making your reservation, indicate you are attending the North Dakota United meeting to receive the negotiated rate. (Participants are responsible for paying for their room. There are no directbilled rooms.) Expenses Recognizing the importance of participation at the regional assembly, NDU will provide the following expense assistance to locals or chapters (not individuals): the IRS standard business mileage rate for one car per local, one-half of the cost of a double room at the Regional Assembly hotel, if necessary, for each delegate, and $25 for each registered delegate. In addition, NDU will be responsible for breakfast and lunch on the day of the assembly. (Vouchers will be available at registration.) Questions? Please contact Kathy at kathy.gourlay@ndunited.org if you have any questions. ND United Voices


CANDIDATES FOR NEA REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY

North Dakota United is allowed to send six elected delegates to the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly in Boston on June 30-July 5, 2017. Five candidates turned in the required amount of signatures to be considered for election as a delegate to NEA RA, and their nominations will be voted on at our NDU Regional Assemblies in April. Candidates for NEA RA delegates are: Tim Thueson is a Title I Coordinator and Title I math and reading teacher at Solen. He formerly taught in McClusky, Pettibone and Sheyenne. Thueson graduated Cum Laude from Mayville State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. He received his Master of Science degree in Education from Minot State University. Thueson served as president, vice president and negotiating team member on the local level. Besides NDU, he is a member of the Communication, Speech, and Theatre Association of North Dakota. He has been involved in school improvement, the North Dakota Theatre Arts Curriculum Frameworks Committee, the North Dakota Reading Association, and the North Dakota Geography Alliance. He is actively involved in the Lions Club and has held many leadership roles. Special recognitions include: Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (3 times), listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Professionals (2 times), and a Melvin Jones Fellowship Awardee. He is a life-member of the North Dakota Firefighters’ Association, a Melvin Jones Fellow and has received four Lions Club International President’s Certificates of Appreciation. Thueson is married to Lynell, and they have one son, Mark. Laura Bubel is an English teacher at Hazen High School. She previously taught at Shepherd High School and Shelby High School, both in Montana. She spent three years teaching in Montana before moving to Hazen. She is in her fifth year of teaching high school English. Bubel graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English Education and Literary Studies in 2011 from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont. She has been a member of the Hazen Education Association since 2015, and was a member of the Shepherd Education Association and Shelby Education Association during her time in Montana. Bubel is currently serving on the N.D. Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) committee to rewrite the state’s ELA standards. Bubel is married to Josh, and they have a one-year-old son named Reid. Mary Ann Gross Klein is a paraprofessional and grounds keeper in Hazen. Gross Klein was born in Jamestown, and received her high school degree from Cleveland, N.D. She graduated from Mary College (now University of Mary) of Bismarck in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, and her area of emphasis in health education.

community. She is a member of the Lions Club and 4-H, and has served on the 4-H Leaders Council, as president, vice president and secretary, as well as 4-H Club leader for 25 years, Hippology judging coach for 10 years, and Hippology Contest coordinator for five years. She has been One Day Horse Camp coordinator and presenter at the state Girls Scout Camp. Additionally, she is a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) instructor and substitute, and is a N.D. licensed substitute teacher. She is a mother to 10 children. Heidi Schostek works as an in-school suspension paraeducator at Dickinson High School. Schostek was born in Portland, Ore., and received a degree in nursing from Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and in medical assisting from Concorde Career Institute, Portland. She worked as a nurse in vascular surgery before moving to Dickinson in 2012. She has been very active in her local association, the Dickinson Education Association, and in NDU. She has been a member of DEA since her first year working in the school system, and served treasurer and as a delegate to NDU Delegate Assembly each year since 2013. She has been vice president of the ESP Advisory Council for NDU, and served as a member of the NDU Foundation Board of Directors. She was named NDU ESP of the Year in 2016. Schostek is also active in her community. She coached little league from 2000-09, and was a court-appointed child advocate in 2001-04. She is married and the proud mom of three children – Brandon, Jeffrey and Samantha. Deb Beeler is a speech/language pathologist for West Fargo Public Schools. She is in her 35th year of teaching in North Dakota, and has spent 33 of those years in West Fargo. Previously she has served as a preschool speech pathologist and an elementary speech pathologist. Beeler graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in speech/language pathology, and received her Master’s Degree in communication disorders from the University of North Dakota. She has been quite involved with her local association, the West Fargo Education Association (WFEA), for many years. She is presently the treasurer, and has served in that role for the past five years. Prior to holding that office, she was an elementary representative on the Executive Board for WFEA, and a building rep. She also continues to help with membership drives. Beeler is active in her church, and an advocate for the students with whom she works. She loves spending summers at the lake, and enjoys flower and vegetable gardening.

She is a member of the Hazen Education Association. Outside of her participation in NDU, she is very active in her

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ADVOCACY CONFERENCE HELD IN MANDAN Participants learned how to be politically active during session By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org The annual North Dakota United Advocacy Conference was held for its third year on Jan. 27-28 at the Baymont Inn of Mandan. Each year’s conference is built to bring together members from every constituency of our association, to network and to discuss the important issues in our state that affect us all. Eric R. Brown, member of the National Education Association Executive Committee, gives the keynote address at our 2017 NDU Advocacy Conference.

The idea of an all-member Advocacy Conference originated in 2014, with the desire of NDU President Nick Archuleta’s to bring together members and to learn, together, about what we can accomplish as one united front. “The Advocacy Conference is important as we continue to merge the cultures of the two predecessor organizations and create opportunities to meet as one unified organization,” said President Archuleta. This year’s conference included breakout session for public employees, higher education faculty and staff, retired members, education support professionals and K-12 educators. Our special guest speakers were Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Friday evening, and keynote speaker Eric Brown, from the National Education Association (NEA) Executive Committee. President Archuleta and NDU Director of Public Affairs Tom Gerhardt gave an update on the legislative session, and NDU Assistant Executive Director Ryan Nagle talked to members about how they could take action and make their voices heard through organizing. Attendance was very good, with representatives from across the state. Reviews afterward were overwhelmingly positive. NDU thanks everyone in attendance, and we hope to see even more of you in attendance at our Advocacy Conference in 2018. Top left: NDU President Nick Archuleta talks with Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. Top right: NDU member Ernst Pijning gives an update on the State Board of Higher Education’s proposed rule change on tenure protections, as President Archuleta and Director of Public Affairs Tom Gerhardt look on. Bottom left: President Archuleta and Gerhardt present their update on the North Dakota Legislature to the full room. Bottom center: NDU Vice President Gary Feist presented on state revenues for a breakout session to public employees and higher education. Bottom right: Rep. George Keiser talks to the Advocacy Conference about the current session from a legislator’s point of view.

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Communications Corner

WELCOME TOM TO THE TEAM

A note can help to co-worker feel welcome I’d like to take a moment to welcome Tom Gerhardt to the house of NDU. Our members may have already noticed Tom’s mighty presence since he started working for you in November as Director of Public Affairs. He’s been a daily presence at the Capitol, lobbying on our issues, and building relationships with lawmakers and the media. He was, himself, a member of the media for 23 years before joining our staff. Members in the Bismarck-Mandan region, or in Minot, probably recognize his name and face from his time as a reporter, news director and anchor in TV news. Just like in the movie, “Anchorman,” he’s kind of a big deal. Random people roll down their car windows and yell out his name when he’s walking down the street. I know this; I’ve seen it happen. Every Monday during legislative session, he has been co-hosting our weekly “This Week in the N.D. Legislature” live broadcast on Facebook (check out www.facebook.com/ndunited at 4:30 p.m. CST on Mondays, and like the page if you haven’t already). He’s attended member events – such as our Advocacy Conference in Bismarck this past January – and he’s been writing up a weekly Legislative Update e-mail blast that we send out each Friday to all of our members. He’s even the voice of our promotional advertising series (go to www.ndunited.org or www.youtube.com/user/nodakunited to check out those videos). And he’s got more than a few bylines in this magazine you’re reading. By Kelly Hagen Director of Communications

I wanted to take this opportunity to conduct a little exercise that all of you can do when someone new joins the staff or faculty of your workplace: write a welcome letter. One proviso: Do more than write a letter. New people at work are exactly that. They’re people, and they’re new. People like to be talked to by other people. Being new is terrifying, and you can make the terror go away by just saying hi. Ask them questions, get to know them. And then, after you’ve talked to them, as people – that’s when you write this letter. Trust me, I’ve talked to Tom already. Don’t be afraid to mention North Dakota United to your new co-workers in conversation. The No. 1 reason that non-members give us for why they haven’t joined NDU is that they were never asked. So what I am about to do is write out a quick note to my new co-worker, Tom Gerhardt, welcoming him to the team and assuring him that I’m here to support him professionally any time and – oh, by the way – there’s an organization of 11,500 educators and public employees that will have his back.

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ND United Voices


Obser ve: Dear Tom: akota United! ross the hall from ac t gh ri Welcome to North D is ce fi of My . I’m Kelly Hagen. me er mb me re of a hipster . y nd ma Ki u t. Yo or sh h lis al T my middle-aged fellow. I wanted to repeat , st yours. I’m a bearded, la re fo be y da the have were talking about to the job. We both we ed as at y, im cl wa ac ny A t ge u as yo in print because my u in any way I can pt yo ce lp ex he o, to to m, nt lis me na it jour comm s similar to yours. me into this job from oe ca sh I in s: nd en ou be gr ck ve I’ ba similar ast. But news stories each too good for broadc le t ib no ss e po ar st e be ic e vo th d uce face an at drove you to prod this job. We just th in g in u th yo e e iv th dr at ll th wi g that And I know ws is the same thin ne V T in me ti ur day during yo and . are a lot like you want to help people ed it Un a ot ak D h rt nt to help. Our wa y we represent at No he s T er . in mb ga me al he ri T r mate their eir career paths fo th se oo ch t osity in the eyes of ri no cu d di of k ar sp me. They e th e rd as they do to se udents. Our public st r ei th of e on om educators work as ha note fr real for that thank-you e liv y they are making a he T at . th ts g en in ud ow st kn e y da pulations, or they ar go to work each po d le an ab up er t ln ge vu s st ee mo oy empl g our y, safe and sound. es. They are helpin da liv ch ’s le ea op rk pe wo in or ce ol scho differen so everyone gets to ect revenues and ll s co ad , ro et e dg th bu f e of th e ow balanc plowing sn and air clean. They r te wa , nd la r ou They keep of ing efficiently. ince you to join. All nv co to keep government runn ve ha t n’ do ice U, so I ation and public serv uc d to be part of ND ed re hi ic bl re pu we u in Yo s er pe with 11,500 of your members as you n r io ou at ci of so as ny ma of as ts fi ow to kn the bene allenge you to get ch I . ps ti unities they serve. er mm ng co fi e ur th to t ou are at yo em it th do. stories, then transm e of the work they lu va e th can. Listen to their t ou ab ag e to br employees rarely lik d an s or at uc ed ic at role with you. Publ th in g in rv se to d ok forwar always open, unless st mo al is or That’s our job! I lo do My hall. I’m just across the , ng hi yt an ed ne er If you ev ich case, just knock. wh In s. rd co re to I’m listening -Kelly Hagen .org kelly.hagen@ndunited

ndunited.org

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Member Profile

PATH OF SCIENCE

Bismarck professor has traveled from Kenya to N.D., in pursuit of knowledge By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org For Tony Musumba, assistant professor of physics at Bismarck State College, the classroom feels a lot like home. “My parents were teachers,” Musumba said. “My dad just fell into the profession after he had done a couple of managerial jobs, so he was a high school teacher. My mom was more the inspiration for teaching. She started off teaching grade school, and she was a good teacher for a long while. She actually taught me, too, in grade four. There was a time when she wasn’t feeling well that I substituted for her class, when I was in high school.” Musumba grew up in Kenya at a time when the country’s education system was being reformed. “Our president in Kenya thought, well, the American system looks pretty good, so let’s go the American way,” Musumba said. “We used to have seven years in grade school, four years in secondary school, and then you go to two years in high school. We changed that to eight years in grade school and four years in high school, and then you go to university.” 24

Students were tested at each level, and you had to pass the exams to move on to the next tier of education. “They just keep sieving people,” Musumba said. “You get a couple people who can’t make it, and sometimes, that’s it for them. And then you go to high school. If you can’t make it beyond high school to the university, maybe you’ll get some other colleges, but it’s just a sieving process.” He said he found his passion for education in helping a fellow student pass his exams. “There was a guy who was studying for his grade-school exams to go to high school, and I remember helping him to study,” Musumba said. “I was really glad when he made it and moved on to high school. I guess that started way back then, tutoring and helping people to succeed. It was a fulfilling thing for me.” Musumba would receive his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in physics from Moi University, in Eldoret, Kenya. Though he admits a preference for the humanities, he was driven ND United Voices


to pursue physics because it challenged him. “I had to choose which way to go, and I ended up doing physics, biology, chemistry and math,” he said. “So I whittled things down based on what I liked. I liked biology more than physics, but somehow physics seemed to be more challenging. And I didn’t have to deal with chemicals!”

“We will launch these balloons, and we can predict where it’s going to land,” Musumba said. “So we’re going to go out there, to a small town and go recover that balloon. One of the things we like to do is, once we’ve recovered that balloon, let’s go to one of the restaurants right there and have some food. I still like to learn about the history and go to places that I haven’t gone to.”

After finishing graduate school in Kenya, and teaching high school for a short time, he made the decision to move to the United States to pursue his Ph.D., at the University of Texas in Dallas. And in 2008, he moved to Bismarck, where his wife, Alice, had accepted a job at the North Dakota Department of Health.

In the scientific process, Musumba teaches physics by encouraging the study of how objects behave within our physical world. And so he likes to study the history of the institutions in which he works and lives, to better understand the processes by which he and his colleagues and neighbors behave.

“We had a softer landing than most people because we knew a couple of people here,” he said. “We lived in someone’s basement for almost a year before we moved into our house, here. But it was the right move, because you can’t just stay in Dallas and you don’t have a job. My stipend was almost done by August, and we had a young baby. It was a lot going on. I was still finishing up writing my dissertation, but this was the right place to be. It was cold, and good for me to study and write up. In fact, I used to come in here to the BSC library, and write.”

“I like the history of the institution,” he said. “And I am one of those guys who looks into that, and finds out, how did this come about? Who taught physics before me? Who taught physics even before that person? You’re trying to see why things become what they are. Did we deal with this stuff before? Well, we dealt with it that way, but maybe this time around we should go this way?”

He also put out feelers at BSC in the physics department, about whether there might be a job opening soon. “I had come in and checked if there were any opportunities for physics, and I talked to the physics professor, but he said there was maybe a possibility but there wasn’t anything definitive,” Musumba said. “I was just about to go defend my dissertation when I saw this assistant professor of physics job opening at BSC. So I said, wow, I’ve got to apply for this! I basically applied for it, went to Dallas, did my defense and came back for the interview.” This school year is Musumba’s ninth at Bismarck State College. He keeps a full course load, typically teaching three courses each semester, plus labs. His goal in teaching, he said, is to show his students that physics isn’t nearly as difficult as they may think it is.

His respect for process, his profession and his place within the institutions that surround him, is what compelled him to join North Dakota United. “I think what triggered me to join was basically just feeling like these are guys that have my back,” he said. “You have to be active in sometimes fighting for change. The way things are going in the U.S., you can’t just sit back and let things disappear. I don’t think there’s anybody else who’s going to be fighting for our kids and our neighbors and our friends … and that’s what NDU stands for. We want our students to have good careers. We want them to live in places where they are not fearful, and they are safe. And that’s what America has been: a welcoming community that helps people flourish.” You can hear more of Tony Musumba’s story in our “We Are North Dakota United!” video series, available on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/nodakunited.

“You already have some knowledge,” he tells his students. “You just need to finetune that knowledge to interrogate parts of the universe, and understand how the universe works. It’s a journey, because they have all this stuff they’ve heard about how physics is tough, or they say, I can’t do this stuff. And you’re constantly encouraging them, to say, you can do this stuff. It’s not hard. It’s just a different way of looking at things.” He stays active in the communities that surround him: in physics, at BSC and in the city and state he lives in. He participates in the North Dakota Space Grant Program, and is the North Dakota section representative for the American Association of Physics Teachers. He also works with the BSC STEM club with a project in which they launch high-altitude balloon up to altitudes as high as 20 miles above the surface of the earth. ndunited.org

Assistant professor of Physics Tony Musumba sits in his lab at Bismarck State College.

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TENURE PROTECTIONS DOWNGRADED

Middle ground reached on change to higher education policy By Tom Gerhardt, tom.gerhardt@ndunited.org

North Dakota University System Chancellor Dr. Mark Hagerott has said to the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) that “these are extraordinary times.” Hagerott is talking about the word “extraordinary” in an adverse sense. North Dakota’s University System is facing a budget crisis. That includes operating on 20 percent budget cuts across the board for higher education, including faculty and administration buyouts, discontinued courses, athletic programs and what some consider an attack on tenure. “These are not things we expected to do,” Hargerott said at a recent SBHE sub-committee meeting, saying a proposed policy change for tenured faculty was “not an attack” because it wouldn’t be permanent. Back in January, SBHE began considering the controversial change to policy 605.3, which deals with nonrenewal, termination or dismissal of faculty due to growing budget constraints. The drastic policy revision would have allowed colleges and universities to dismiss tenured faculty with three months’ notice instead of one year. North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta testified against the proposed change at the January meeting, saying, “It would have the dire and unintended consequence of hollowing out higher education in North Dakota.” Representatives from all 11 colleges and universities across the state testified against the proposed change, which led to the full board forming a sub-committee to more closely study the issue. The sub-committee made recommendations, and a final decision was made at the Feb. 23 meeting. After much debate on the emotional issue, the following compromise was reached: 1. A tenured faculty member terminated due to Board-declared financial exigency shall be given written notice of termination at least 90 days prior to the date of termination. 2. A tenured faculty member terminated due to loss of legislative appropriation shall be given written notice of termination at least 180 days prior to the date of termination. 3. A tenured faculty member terminated due to loss of institutional or program enrollment, consolidation of academic units or program areas, or elimination of courses shall be given written notice of termination at least 12 months prior to the date of termination. The policy change to 605.3 took effect immediately after the board voted, but has a sunset clause of June 30, 2019, meaning the decision will revert back to the old rule at that date. 26

Financial exigency is defined by the American Association of University Professors as “imminent financial crisis which threatens the viability of an agency, institution, office, or department as a whole, or one or more of its programs.” That means an institution would essentially be in danger of closing its doors before it could choose to dismiss a tenured faculty member with at least 90 days’ notice. Loss of legislative appropriation, which is happening this legislative session, gives colleges and universities the option of giving tenured faculty notice of termination at least 180 days in advance of the termination date. The third point covers tenured faculty at the full 12 months if a program is consolidated or eliminated. Dr. Ernst Pijning is a professor of history at Minot State University and North Dakota United member, and he is also faculty advisor on the SBHE. He read a resolution passed by the Council of College Faculties at the Feb. 23 SBHE meeting, cementing the stance of its members and resolving the change would cause “irreparable damage to the credibility of higher education in North Dakota.” The statement urged the SBHE to maintain the standards of tenure for all higher education and to “abandon plans to change the SBHE policy 605.3.” Dr. Beth Ingram, provost at North Dakota State University, also testified at the SBHE meeting. She said the mere consideration of 90 days had already been picked up by the Wall Street Journal in mid-February. Ingram said it generally takes a year for a tenured faculty member to find another job. “If you give me 90 days’ notice in April that I’m out of a job on July 1, even if you give me 90 days of severance pay, I’m not going to have a job that next year as a tenured faculty member,” Ingram said. Archuleta he said agreed, saying all along NDU as an organization has been wary of the long-term ramifications of changing this rule, if we don’t have what it takes to attract students, we shouldn’t be surprised when we lose attendance and are unable to recruit and retain high quality students and faculty. “If students don’t believe that they are going to get the highquality faculty that they deserve as they move into studying for the profession they’ll enter, they’ll go someplace else. The important thing to remember about universities now is we don’t compete for the top students and the top professors regionally. We compete globally for these people,” Archuleta said. ND United Voices


WHY DID YOU JOIN?

New higher education members talk about why they’re ND United By Kelly Hagen, kelly.hagen@ndunited.org

The top reason given by educators and public employees in the state of North Dakota for why they haven’t joined North Dakota United is this: “I was never asked.” This makes membership recruitment difficult at worksites that don’t have a high membership rate, and there is no engrained culture of members asking colleagues to join their union. And if they’re not asked, they’re not going to join.

background who are reviewing your grant proposal before you can even have it submitted to federal agencies, if that was something that might come up again, that is scary. Since so many of the faculty here require funding to do what we were hired for, which is to do research, be good scientists, be part of a larger scientific community, and solve important problems, we must be able to fund those activities that we do.

Starting in January of 2017, three organizers have been patrolling the campus of North Dakota State University (NDSU), and introducing themselves to faculty and staff. These organizers – Courtney Schaff, Julian Dahlquist and Ross Hettervig – are asking the question, “Would you join North Dakota United?” to public employees who have never been asked previously, at NDSU and eventually expanding on to University of North Dakota and campuses across the state. Their results have been very good.

Chelsea Pace

We talked to two new members at NDSU to find out why they joined our union, and what they would say to someone they knew who isn’t a member, about why they should join, too.

Lydia Tackett Chelsea Pace started in the fall of 2014 at NDSU as assistant professor of movement, and is the publicity director for the Theatre Department and, this spring, she is directing “The Odyssey: A Play” by Mary Zimmerman, which will be performed April 27-29, and May 3-6. She received her bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University, and her Master’s of Fine Arts from Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.

Lydia Tackett is an assistant professor of geology at NDSU. She’s originally from Pennsylvania, and came to her position at NDSU two and a half years ago, after having received her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Why did you join NDU? “I’m from Philadelphia, which is very union. And, to be honest, I kind of assumed I was in one automatically. So, after the election, I was going to all of the live feeds and meetings with faculty and the Faculty Senate, to see what do they think is going to come from the State Board of Higher Education. And through that I met Courtney, and I found out, one, that I wasn’t already in the union, and two, that North Dakota doesn’t allow us to collective bargain. “I’d never lived in a place where that didn’t always happen. So it kind of took finding out about all of these situations to learn that I would need to actually join. So when I found out that there was a union, and I had to actually take a step to join, it was just, yes, obviously I’m going to join. Who wouldn’t?” What would you tell a colleague who isn’t a member about why they should join NDU? “The story that made me want to join was I heard that the state Legislature was considering a bill that would make it so that we, the faculty, who are submitting federal grants, would have to get approval from the state Legislature first. … That goes against academic freedom, and my career requires funding. I work really hard to get funding. “I would tell them that even though the bill now excludes higher education, there’s already so much bureaucracy that is involved in writing a grant and submitting it. So, the potential of adding another step from non-researchers and non-scientists, people without a scientific

ndunited.org

Why did you join NDU? “I’m excited about that! I would have joined so much sooner, but I didn’t know we had a union. Because it’s a right-to-work state here in North Dakota, and this is my first big job out of grad school. In Arizona, there was no union for graduate students. So, coming to North Dakota, I wasn’t looking to join a union, but I wished we had one. And I was excited when Courtney came to chat with me about it. “So when she started telling me about her work at North Dakota United, and asked if she could come by my office and have a chat, I said, ‘Sure!’ And when she first started telling me about North Dakota United, it took me half of a click to realize, oh my gosh, we have a union! Because I had not considered that we would or could. So, I was glad to hear we had a union, and I think I was a very easy sell. Because I believe in unions, even without the power of collective bargaining. I think it’s important to present a united front, especially when the thing we’re presenting is a united front for are the people who live here in North Dakota. It’s not a special-interest group; the people in our state are not a special-interest group. I think being able to work with the public, for the public, and being united in that, I think that’s really critical.” What would you tell a colleague who isn’t a member about why they should join NDU? “I think I start with: ‘Did you know we have a union?’ That was a surprise to me. And then, I’d say, ‘I just recently joined and I’m really excited about it.’ Because the benefit to me, if someone asked ‘Why should I join?’ I think it would be that presence in Bismarck. That year-round, in and out of session presence in Bismarck, because there are some anti-higher education viewpoints in Bismarck. That’s really scary to me, as a tenuretrack faculty member. I can’t imagine how it must feel right now as an adjunct or a lecturer. And to know that there is a union advocating for all of us, and we get lumped in with the superheroes who teach in K-12. That we can all be in this together and moving the state of North Dakota forward in terms of education and retention.”

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Register now for trainings, courses and seminars 2017 NDU PROFESSIONAL GROWTH INSTITUTE

Great Work, Great Career MEDORA, ND, JUNE 5-7

The ethics class should be

potential ethical and legal

North Dakota United is proud to announce our first Professional Growth Institute. In the past, NDU has provided specialized training opportunities such as the Education Support Professionals (ESP) Conference and the Instructional Conference. We have been looking to provide a new opportunity for all public employees in the state of North Dakota to enrich themselves and their careers. As a result, we are proud to bring you our Professional Growth Institute. This Institute will provide K-12 teachers, ESP, public employees and higher education staff an opportunity to enrich themselves and their careers through highquality, relevant trainings. The theme for the Institute is “Great Work, Great Career,” and trainings will focus on enriching yourself and your career.

ramifications. This class

More information and registration will be available online at pd.ndunited.org.

will open your eyes to what

Other Upcoming Trainings and Courses: 3/21 “Paper Tigers” Screening 3/25-3/26 Educator Ethics 3/29 “Paper Tigers” Screening 3/30 Retirement Seminar 3/31 Retirement Seminar 4/1 SNDU Conference 4/1 Retirement Seminar 4/6 “Paper Tigers” Screening 4/6 Retirement Seminar 4/8-9 Educator Ethics 4/12 Retirement Seminar 4/19 Retirement Seminar 4/21-22 Bargaining Conference 4/28-29 Bargaining Conference 5/3 Retirement Seminar 5/6-7 Educator Ethics 5/10 Retirement Seminar 5/26 “Paper Tigers” Screening

required for all teachers. In today’s world of social media and all of its ‘traps’ as a professional, you need to be aware of the

you need to be aware of, so that you do not get yourself in a potentially careerending situation.” Pat O’Brien NDU Member, Mandan

Minot Fargo Dickinson State University Fargo Grand Forks Bismarck State College Grafton Wahpeton Hazen Bismarck Rugby Valley City Grand Forks Bismarck Bismarck Minot Bismarck Fort Totten

Go to pd.ndunited.org to register and see other professional growth opportunities. 28

ND United Voices


NEAÂŽ Dental and Vision Affordable dental and vision coverage for you and your family

NEA Member Benefits, in partnership with Renaissance Dental, is excited to offer comprehensive dental and vision coverage to members. Our innovative plans and exceptional customer service provide the quality, savings and convenience NEA members expect.

Key Features of NEA

Dental and Vision:

Great coverage: Covered services include preventive care like routine exams and cleanings, plus dental procedures such as crowns and implants.

Hassle-free benefits: PPO participating dental offices will complete and file claims for you, so you don’t have to deal with paperwork or wait for reimbursement.

Freedom of choice: Visit any licensed dental professional you choose. Members may save the most money by visiting a dentist from our nationwide Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), which includes more than 200,000 credentialed dental office locations.

Generous annual maximum: Options for a maximum that increases over a three-year span. Vision coverage: Plan options to add vision to your dental coverage for one affordably bundled price.

Visit www.neamb.com/DentalVision or call (855) 865-2285 to enroll today. in partnership with

Dental & Vision

Dental and vision coverage outside the state of New York is underwritten by Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America, Indianapolis, IN. Coverage in New York state is underwritten by Renaissance Health Insurance Company of New York in New York, NY. Both companies can be reached at PO Box 1596, Indianapolis, IN 46206. In certain states, vision coverage may be underwritten by Vision Service Plan Insurance Company or VSP DV370217 Vision Care, Inc. Both companies can be reached at 3333 Quality Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.

ndunited.org

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NONRENEWAL DO’S AND DON’TS

What should North Dakota United members do if they receive a notice that their teaching contract is to be nonrenewed, terminated or reduced? The first step is to call your NDU UniServ Director at our Help Line, 701-223-0450, or send an e-mail to helpline@ndunited.org, and ask to be connected to your region’s UniServ Director. The notice must be in writing and be received no later than April 15. It must indicate the school board is “contemplating” not renewing a contract, specify the time (not later than April 21) and place of a special board meeting to discuss the contemplated action, and state the reasons for the contemplated nonrenewal. Here are some Do’s & Don’ts for you, if you receive notice of nonrenewal:

Do call NDU!

Do send notice, agreement or anything given to you to your UniServ Director or NDU.

Do work with NDU to write acceptance or agreement to nonrenewal, if you agree with the reasons. Do prepare your defense with the assistance of your local and NDU if you will attend the hearing. Do be frank, honest, factual and complete when you meet with your NDU UniServ Director. Do be prepared to refute written charges using documentation and witnesses, if necessary. Do take an NDU representative with you to your hearing.

Do ask for a continuance at your hearing, if you need more time. It must be granted!

Do expect final written notice of a determination by the school board to be given by May 1. Share that notification with NDU. Don’t panic!

Don’t sign anything (agreement to nonrenewal or resignation) given to you by the administration.

Don’t write your own letter of resignation at the board’s request because it’s possible you may be losing rights to recall or unemployment benefits.

Don’t engage in name-calling or get into a shouting ordeal with the superintendent and/or school board members. Don’t request or consent to an “informal” meeting with the school board. Don’t try to make a “deal” with the administration or the school board.

Don’t spread bitterness in the community or among the faculty that might cause factionalism and possibly weaken your cause. Don’t attempt to base your case on strong emotionalism or friendships you think will “smooth things over” with the board. Don’t disregard the notice and expect it to go away. 30

ND United Voices


NDU-Retired

TIMES ARE CHANGING

It’s more important than ever to be involved and active Is it sad or happy? Since Donald Trump became our President, Americans have newly discovered who their members of Congress are and how to contact them. Is it sad or happy? That after a successful call to action by NDU members, a Senator still votes party line versus listening to the wishes of the people he represents.

By Nancy Peterson NDU-Retired President

Is it sad or happy? More people are attending legislative or town hall meetings than ever before. Is it sad or happy? Listeners to talk radio/TV shows have increased. Is it sad or happy? The North Dakota Legislature feels the need to act as oversight to agencies that are being managed and run by members correctly at this present time.

What will you do? Whatever it is, please do so civilly and with respect.”

Is it happy or sad? The U.S. and N.D. seem to be becoming a nation and state of such diverse opinions, and no one is willing to compromise for the good of the people. As the song says, “The times are a-changing.” We are certainly seeing these at all levels of government today. So what can you do? Keep getting involved! If you haven’t already, start getting involved! NDU has done a great job of keeping us all informed on legislation affecting us today and into the future. Join the conversation through whatever media forum works for you (Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, mail, newspaper, radio/TV or magazines). As retired members, we are anxious to see what happens in the Legislature on HB 1023. This bill has the potential to hurt both PERS and TFFR boards, and their ability to manage pension funds. At the national level, we are concerned about what the proposed Paul Ryan bill will do to Social Security and Medicare. Representative Ryan has long been a supporter of privatizing these two entities. President Trump’s budget however does not reduce these programs. What will the new Affordable Care Act look like and what impact that will have on American families? Lots of questions, and we ALL need to be diligent in watching out for the good of our members and country. What will you do? Whatever it is, please do so civilly and with respect. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Please fact-check before printing or stating things you’ve heard or read online.

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 $49 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 $409 for Lifetime Retired. Expected Date of Retirement ___________ (month/year) _______ I wish to pay one payment of $49 and have 9 (nine) electronic transfers of $40 from my bank account for Lifetime Retired. ndunited.org

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ND United Voices

United Voices, Vol. 3 No. 3  

Check out the March 2017 issue of United Voices, the official publication of North Dakota United, for news from the Capitol and the Legislat...