Measure 2: yes or no

Sean Cleary, Copy Editor

Sean Cleary, vote yes on Measure 2

With everything going during the 2016 election, Measure 2 is not a hot topic of conversation among many voters. It hasn’t received much press or attracted much debate compared to some of the other ballot measures, but I think voting “yes” on Measure 2 would be best for North Dakota students and for the state as a whole.

If passed, the measure would allow the legislature to use money from the state’s Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund for educational purposes.

Historically, the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund has been used to protect education spending from budget cuts in the event of a revenue shortfall; this occurred earlier this year during the budget allotments.

The Fund contains approximately $570 million dollars. If Measure 2 was passed, the fund would retain at least fifteen percent of the state’s K-12 education budget to continue to be used as a “safety net.” The excess amount could then fund educational priorities in the state.

The legislature has already specified what a large portion of this money could be spent on if Measure 2 passes. SB 2039, passed unanimously by the state legislature, would create a scholarship fund for North Dakota college students and a fund that would provide low-interest loans to school districts for construction projects. Both of these policies would greatly benefit students in North Dakota.

If the measure isn’t passed, the fund will continue to hold an amount of money that is much greater than is necessary to act as a safety net.

Unfortunately, the argument opposite of this one on the page fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund and needlessly obfuscates the argument over Measure 2.

While saving for the future and fiscal responsibility is important, it isn’t necessary for the state to hold such an excessive amount of money in this account when it could be invested in other priorities. Measure 2 strikes a balance between this saving and investment.

Both Measure 2 and SB 2039 enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the North Dakota legislature. I support Measure 2 because it allows for flexibility in educational spending while preserving money for the future. When UND students go to the polls next Tuesday, I ask them to consider voting “yes” on Measure 2. 

Sean Cleary  is a copy editor for  The Dakota Student. He can be reached at  [email protected]