Governor proposes more state help for school in oil countiesBISMARCK — More state money needs to go to schools facing rapid student enrollment growth, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said today.
By: Teri Finneman, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — More state money needs to go to schools facing rapid student enrollment growth, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said today.
Dalrymple shared his proposal to enhance state support for these schools during the North Dakota Governor’s Education Summit in Dickinson.
“The state’s strong economy is creating new jobs, new career opportunities and it has played a major role in reversing the state’s long-standing population decline,” Dalrymple said in a statement. “With growth have come challenges for school districts, particularly those in the state’s oil-producing counties. We have provided significant resources to assist these schools, but we can do more to ensure that our educators have the resources they need to provide the best education possible.”
Dalrymple’s proposal includes:
- Setting aside $200 million in the state’s strategic investment and improvement fund to provide low-interest loans to qualified school districts throughout the state for the construction of new schools or for improvements or expansions to existing school buildings. This fund receives its money from oil tax revenue.
The loan fund will be in addition to a $50 million school loan program provided through the state’s Coal Development Trust Fund.
-Setting aside $25 million in oil and gas impact grant funds during the 2013-15 biennium for rapidly growing schools impacted by oil development. This fund also receives its money from oil tax revenue. Dalrymple is proposing the state again sets aside a total of $135 million in impact grants for the next biennium to help local governments in oil country.
During the past school year, the state provided more than $10 million in impact grants to address school needs in oil-producing counties.
-Forming an advisory group of western school superintendents, teachers, counselors and school board members to keep state officials informed of school enrollments and immediate challenges. The governor will also appoint an adviser on rapidly growing schools who will assist superintendents and other school officials with planning and growth strategies.