BISMARCK -- North Dakota voters will get the chance to weigh in next year on whether the state should tap a rarely used fund for education purposes.
The Foundation Aid Stabilization fund was created in the state’s constitution in the 1990s and has only been used once for its intended purpose: to cushion education funding. The fund has ballooned beyond what legislators say is necessary, thanks to growing oil extraction tax revenues, and is expected to reach almost $750 million by the end of the next biennium.
Legislators voted Tuesday to ask voters to allow excess money in the Foundation Aid Stabilization fund to be used for other education purposes. Another bill passed Monday seeks to use those extra dollars for up to $200 million in college scholarships and up to $200 million for school construction loans, depending on if voters approve the constitutional change.
The House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 4003 by a 68-21 vote Tuesday, hours after the Senate passed it unanimously, sending the question to voters in November 2016.
“This constitutional amendment tells our constituents back home that while we are still going to protect our K-12 funding, we are addressing their desire to take and put a significant amount of these trust funds to work for them and the long-term betterment of the state,” said Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, in prepared remarks.