NDSU Finally Selling Costly, Unnecessary Airplane
Starting back during the 2011 legislative session, when we here at Say Anything broke the news about NDSU flying officials back and forth to the session from Fargo at a cost of thousands of dollars per flight, I’ve been making an issue out of the university’s private airplane. I thought it ludicrous that a state university needed a private plane.
I was attacked for that position by university system apologists. The editorial boards at the Grand Forks Herald and Fargo Forum ridiculed my position. The Forum accused critics of NDSU’s airplane of not knowing “how to think.”
But now, under pressure from the legislature, NDSU is selling their airplane. A reader emailed me a copy of the Associated Press report about the news asking me if I’d take a “victory lap.”
I’ll take a small one. If it wasn’t for SAB pointing out that NDSU does, in fact, own this aircraft (the university tried to claim that it was owned by the alumni foundation and merely leased to the school) it wouldn’t have been included in a legislative study of state aircraft use.
After it was included, legislators questioned why NDSU was spending 400% more to own the plane than it would cost to lease flights. The university didn’t have a good answer, and now they’re selling the plane.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota State University official says the school is trying to sell a private plane that costs more than $5,600 an hour to fly.
NDSU controller Gary Wawers told a North Dakota legislative committee Wednesday that the asking price for the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air is $1.55 million.
The plane was bought new five years ago for more than $2.3 million.
This isn’t a good deal for taxpayers. Selling the plane will stop the bleeding, but reports made to the legislature indicate that the university was spending $500,000/year to operate the plane over the five years they’ve had it, and they’re now selling it for a $750,000 loss.
That’s a total of $3.25 million down the tubes, or more than 7 times the amount of the tuition increase NDSU demanded earlier this year saying they would cut core academic programs if they didn’t get it.
NDSU President Dean Bresciani was, just last month, demanding more funding from the Board of Higher Education claiming his university is “just barely scraping by” despite a nearly 100% increase in total appropriations since the 2003 – 2005 biennium.
Maybe the money squandered on this airplane should tell us that the problem at NDSU isn’t the university’s funding but rather the university’s management.Tags: dean bresciani, NDSU, North Dakota News, north dakota state university