Land Board Awards Nearly $7 Million in Initial Grant Round for Oil Patch Schools
BISMARCK, N.D. – The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $6.85 million in its first round of grants to K-12 schools impacted by rapid development in the state’s oil and gas counties. The Land Board has set aside $25 million in Energy Impact Grant funds for Oil Patch schools during the 2013-2015 biennium.
The state grants awarded by the Land Board today will support 23 school districts in western North Dakota. School officials will use the funding to secure portable classrooms and affordable housing for teachers, to enhance school security systems and to address other critical needs.
“These grants will help school districts meet critical needs as they begin the new school year,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We will continue working with school officials throughout our oil and gas counties to address the impacts of rapid growth.”
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other Land Board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
Following Dalrymple’s recommendation, the Legislature also changed the state’s distribution formula for oil and gas gross production taxes, a move that is projected to directly provide western North Dakota school districts with about $50 million in additional revenue during the biennium. Other state support for schools includes $13.6 million for districts experiencing rapid enrollment growth, funding to help districts meet the rising costs of student transportation and a $150 million low-interest loan program to help finance construction projects.
The grants approved by the Land Board today include:
- $1.8 million for security enhancements, portable classrooms, employee housing, traffic-flow improvements and other upgrades at McKenzie Public School District #1.
- $804,000 for staff housing, portable classrooms, computer lab remodel and other upgrades within the Killdeer Public School District.
- $800,000 for teacher housing at Mandaree Public School District #36.
- $482,000 for teacher housing and security upgrade at the Divide County Public School District #1.
- $385,000 for modular classrooms at South Heart Public School District.
- $256,000 for teacher housing and security upgrades at Bowman Public School District.
- $256,000 for teacher housing at Bowbells Public School District #14.
- $281,000 for teacher housing and security enhancements at Beach Public School District #3.
- $310,000 for school security upgrades and the development of teacher housing at Tioga Public School District #15.
For a complete list of grants approved today by the Land Board go to: www.nd.gov/energyimpact
To date, the Land Board has committed $120.7 million in state Energy Impact Grant funds and will award a total of $240 million in grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. The grants are used to address a wide range of needs including enhancements for law enforcement agencies and emergency services; upgrades to county and city infrastructure and support for growing schools.
In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the current biennium. The state commitment – more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion – includes funding for highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects and the development of affordable housing. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region’s court system and funding for dust suppression projects.