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North Dakota school districts

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K-12 Education in North Dakota
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Kirsten Baesler
Number of students: 97,646[1]
Number of teachers: 8,525
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:11.5
Number of school districts: 223
Number of schools: 513
Graduation rate: 87%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $11,420[3]
See also
North Dakota Department of EducationList of school districts in North DakotaNorth DakotaSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in North Dakota
Glossary of education terms

North Dakota is home to 223 school districts, 513 schools and 97,646 K-12 students.[4][5]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Education Standards and Practices Board[6]
    • Michael Heilman, Chair, Administrative Representative
    • Mike Bitz, Vice-Chair, Administrative Representative
    • Laura Mihalick, School Board Representative
    • Tim Tausend, School Board Representative
    • Amy Mann, Private-School Teacher Representative
    • Rod Jonas, Teacher Education Representative
    • Mary Eldredge-Sandbo, Teacher Representative
    • Kimberly Belgarde, Teacher Representative
    • Loni Miller, Teacher Representative
    • Karen Christensen


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.[5][7]

Student enrollment, 2011-2012 Per-pupil spending, 2011-2012
1.) Bismarck 1.) Central Elem
2.) Fargo 2.) Twin Buttes
3.) Long Beach Unified 3.) Robinson
4.) Fresno Unified 4.) Billings Co
5.) Elk Grove Unified 5.) Pleasant Valley
6.) Mandan 6.) Goodrich
7.) Williston 7.) Naughton
8.) Dickinson 8.) Mandaree
9.) Jamestown 9.) Horse Creek
10.) Belcourt 10.) Newburg-United


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in North Dakota as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[8]

Demographic information for North Dakota's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 8,866 9.08% 1.10%
Asian 1,134 1.16% 4.68%
African American 2,549 2.61% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 220 0.23% 0.42%
Hispanic 2,783 2.85% 24.37%
White 81,237 83.20% 51.21%
Two or more 857 0.88% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction adopted the standards on June 20, 2011. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.[9][10]

School board composition

School board members are elected by residents of the school district. If a vacancy occurs, a new member may be appointed or elected by special election to fill the vacancy. School board members may be elected at-large, by geographic area or at-large by geographic area. School boards may have five, seven or nine members elected to three-year or four-year terms.[11]

District types

All school districts in North Dakota are the same type. They are considered "public school districts" by law, are governed by an elected school board and have the power to levy taxes or take on debt for school purposes.[12]

Term limits

North Dakota does not impose statewide term limits on school boards.[13]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: North Dakota school board elections, 2014

A total of two North Dakota school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment held elections in 2014 for eight seats. Both districts held their elections on June 10, 2014.

Here are several quick facts about North Dakota's school board elections in 2014:

  • The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 was Bismarck Public Schools with 11,017 K-12 students.
  • The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2014 was Fargo Public Schools with 10,609 K-12 students.
  • Fargo Public Schools had the most seats on the ballot in 2014 with five seats up for election.
  • Bismarck Public Schools had the fewest seats on the ballot in 2014 with three seats up for election.

The districts listed below served 21,626 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.[14] Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2014 North Dakota School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Bismarck Public Schools 6/10/2014 3 5 11,017
Fargo Public Schools 6/10/2014 5 9 10,609

Path to the ballot

To be a school board candidate in North Dakota, an individual must be a registered voter in the school district in which they wish to represent.[13] In order to get on the ballot, school board candidates must file a document declaring the candidate's name and the position sought as well as a statement of interests. These must be filed with the school district business manager by the 64th day before the election.[11]

Campaign finance

School district candidates are not required to file campaign financial disclosure reports.[15]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, "School Listings," accessed August 12, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, "School Finance & School Organization," accessed August 12, 2013
  6. North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, "ESPB Board Members," accessed June 13, 2014
  7. North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, "Expenditure Calculation of Average Cost Per Pupil for 2011-2013," accessed August 12, 2013
  8. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  9. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  10. North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 North Dakota Century Code, "Section 15.1-09," accessed July 10, 2014
  12. United States Census Bureau, "North Dakota," accessed July 10, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 North Dakota Secretary of State, "Qualifications and Terms of Office for all Elected Positions in North Dakota," accessed July 10, 2014
  14. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary/Secondary Information System," accessed March 21, 2014
  15. North Dakota Secretary of State, "School District Office," accessed July 10, 2014