BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today took executive action to suspend two members of the Belcourt School Board after credible reports of threats and demands made by the two board members in the midst of a citizen-requested audit.
Jeremy Laducer and Doug Delorme were suspended from the seven-member Belcourt School Board, which administers state funding for the Belcourt public school district. The governor’s action followed approval today by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Council to suspend the entire nine-member Turtle Mountain Community Schools Board, which administers federal funds for the tribally operated schools in Belcourt. Laducer and Delorme are members of both boards.
The State Auditor’s Office is currently conducting a citizen-requested audit of the financial records of Belcourt Public Schools. The audit was initiated through a petition process that required 195 valid signatures of qualified voters. Under state law, the governor may suspend a school board member if it’s determined, in consultation with the state superintendent of public instruction, that it’s in the best interest of the state and school district pending the results of the audit.
“In the spirit of government-to-government collaboration, collective action is necessary to protect public dollars and ensure the safest and best possible learning environment for students,” Burgum said. “Within our individual authorities as sovereign governments, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the State of North Dakota will act with a shared commitment to the communities and students we serve.”
The governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and Turtle Mountain Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure all signed a joint letter expressing their shared desire to resolve the situation in a way that provides stability and safety for parents, educators, school district employees and especially students, and ensures proper oversight of taxpayer dollars. Click on the hyperlinked text to view copies of the joint letter, the suspension notices and the Tribal Council’s resolution.