If you have not heard already, last Thursday the North Dakota Senate voted down Senate Bill 2180. In addition to this bill recognizing that parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children and “not the federal, state, or local government,” the bill also would have forced the state to begin refusing federal dollars for education that came with strings attached to them.
In the moments preceding the final vote – which was 43 to 3 – Senator Erin Oban (D – District 35) could not help but take to the microphone and frame the opposing argument in a way that was… well, not entirely truthful. After citing “significant consequences” should the bill pass, Senator Oban went on to talk about the “hole” that would be created by the bill’s passage and wondered how such funds could be made up.
Oban even referenced her own Bismarck School District’s nearly $11 million in federal funding. What she failed to mention was the fact that her school district also had a $15 million dollar surplus. In fact, she failed to mention that of the 179 school districts in the state 163 of them had surplus funds that exceeded the amount received in federal funds. In a nutshell, there is no “hole” in the education budgets if federal funds are refused. The state can afford education without federal money.
The fundamental purpose of SB 2180 was most definitely a state’s rights issue. Those supporting the bill actually believe that the U.S. Constitution means something and that North Dakota should indeed take back it’s destiny in regards to education. Unfortunately, our state has a spineless Senate who seems to care little about their oath of office and a whole lot more about their Feducation… federal dollars and all.