Lawmakers and the State Board of Higher Education today announced that they reached a new agreement with Sanford to keep a nursing school in Bismarck open.
NDSU President Dean Bresciani created the mess when he agreed to a sweetheart deal with Sanford back in 2014 while refusing to loop in lawmakers who would inevitably be on the hook for budgeting for the program.
For the first few years of the deal Bresciani signed NDSU paid just $1 per year in rent on the space where the school resides, but later this year that rent was set to soar to something like $380,000 per year.
Meaning that not only had Bresciani signed the taxpayers up to take over a school that operates at about a $1 million annual loss, but the taxpayers would have to pay rent to Sanford for the opportunity.
The Bismarck Tribune gave Bresciani a bit of a tongue lashing over the deal in an editorial out today.
The new agreement, which you can read about in the press release from House Majority Leader Al Carlson’s Office, extends the $1 yearly lease for another two years.
So, not a fix, but a band aid as lawmakers work to make ends meet in an ugly budget situation as their legislative session ends.
It will be interesting to see how this situation is handled going forward, but it’s worth noting that the state could have avoided this headache if NDSU didn’t have as its president an obstinate, uncooperative bureaucrat possessed of more confidence than his level of competence justifies.
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