ND Legislature Passes Measure for Vote on Higher Education - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND Legislature Passes Measure for Vote on Higher Education

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Chancellor Ham Shirvani Chancellor Ham Shirvani
Bismarck, ND -

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North Dakota lawmakers give Higher Education a vote of no confidence by passing a measure that could change how the system is managed.

The Higher Ed system has been surrounded by controversy over the past couple years whether it has been with the schools, the chancellor or the board.

Late this afternoon, the legislature gave it's final approval on a bill to let voters decide the future of higher ed.

ND voters Will be voting in Nov 2014 On whether or not they want to change the Higher Education system

The House approved Sending a measure to voters that replaces the Chancellor and the current 8 board members with 3 fall time Commissioners.

Lawmakers say the commissioners would be appointed by the governor .

The commission Would function like the Public Service Commission.

Some lawmakers say the change could affect the 11 institutions and their accreditation.

Representative Corey Mock of Grand Forks says, "We risk loosing accreditation for all of our colleges if this becomes law. And quite frankly, I am not ready to take that chance."

"It seems to me what we are creating here is a political animal that the current fights we have will be small compared to what we will have now because it looks to me like we are trying to take control of this," says Representative Marvin Nelson of Rolla.

Representative Al Carlson responds, "I think it is time we take control of this. I think it is very dysfunctional the way it is today and what this does is allow it to go to the people of North Dakota to decide if they are satisfied with the system of governance for higher education. This needs a new face lift and this is the time to get it started."

The measure passed the House with a vote of 55-34.

Again lawmakers approval gets this measure on the ballot. It will be up to North Dakotan's to decide if this is the best option to manage the higher education system.

The measure as first introduced, eliminated the board but had the Governor appointing a Director.

The Senate changed the measure to include the three person full time commission.

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