Lawmakers in North Dakota have succeeded in their third attempt to pass a resolution that would put the future existence of the State Board better Education before state voters, the Grand Forks Herald reports. The measure would switch the state board with a permanent three-member committee.
The vote would be a close one. The resolution, titled House Current Resolution 3047, passed having a vote for 25 for and 21 against and can now be delivered back to the House to be able to reconcile it using the version went by the state Senate. Whether it passes, it will be put on the ballot in 2014. The vote is needed because the change involves amending the state constitution.
The state board continues to be involved with power struggles with the Legislature, which approves the North Dakota University System budget, in addition to with presidents of individual universities. The board last year hired a new chancellor, hoping that Hamid Shirvani would be the strong leader the system needs. But his blunt style has led some in the Legislature to question his leadership and the work from the board.
The resolution, which underwent a large change in the Senate, is aimed to resolve those problems.
The original wording might have done away with the board in favor of a governor-appointed director of the Department better Education. The director would function as a de-facto chief executive of the system without advisory council. The Senate-amended version will expand it to 3 full-time commissioners C who will be named by the governor C but from a pre-approved list which will be put together jointly by the state lawmakers and approved by the North Dakota Supreme Court, the superintendent of public instruction and \”a associated with an educational interest group.\”
The original resolution was created by Fargo’s representative Al Carlson that has already expressed support for the Senate version and pledged to get the House’s approval.
Senators Gary Lee, R-Casselton, and Robert Erbele, R-Lehr, flipped their votes from a week ago, when the resolution failed on the 24-23 vote, to aid the resolution. Sen. Spencer Berry, R-Fargo, voted from the resolution last week and was absent Monday.
Sen. David Hogue, R-Minot, carried the resolution to the floor within the third attempt to get it passed. He said the Legislature should not be afraid to allow North Dakotans make the decision.
The current governance structure includes eight part-time board members, one chancellor and 11 university presidents, has too many layers, he said.