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Higher ed measure would give power to legislators, board member says

GRAND FORKS -- Although a resolution to replace the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education with a three-member commission might appear to be prompted by recent controversy, board member Grant Shaft said there has been similar legislation every session.

"What it really gets down to is who's going to govern higher education? Ultimately, the Legislature or the board, but that's an age-old question," he said.

Shaft discussed House Concurrent Resolution 3047 with the state board Thursday, saying no response would be necessary now but if the resolution is approved by voters in the next general election, in 2014.

In the state constitution, aside from the appropriation of money, the board holds all of the authority over the system, Shaft said. Under the language in the resolution, the new commission would be subject to actions by legislators.

"Which would mean they need to follow what the Legislature says," he said. "One could argue that the new (commission) could not control higher ed; the Legislature would through legislation."