Area schools have received state energy impact grants to help fund the development of affordable housing for teachers and to enhance public safety throughout the state's oil-producing counties. The grants are part of the state's $135 million Energy Impact Grant Fund which was created to address impacts from rapid oil and gas development.
Burke Central School District was awarded $240,000 to help pay for the affordable housing it has added for teachers in the school, located in Lignite.
Eight Mile School District received $20,000 for teacher housing. That district, located in Trenton, has set up two FEMA trailers to provide housing for its teachers.
Grenora School District received $80,000 for teacher housing. The money will be used to offset the cost of a four-plex that was put up for teachers. The district had previously received a $200,000 grant for that housing project but building costs exceeded the original amount. It took out a $100,000 loan to finish the project and was seeking funds to pay off the loan.
Halliday received $9,060 to install video cameras in the school and improve school security. The district reported that last year it had a break-in and vandalism and a video surveillance system is necessary because of increased security concerns and increasing enrollment.
Killdeer received $225,000 to help address teacher and staff housing needs. The district is putting up two duplexes to house teachers and staff.
Stanley received $600,000 to help address teacher housing needs. It will pay for eight apartments from two four-plex units.
Williston School District received $270,940 toward renovation of McVay Elementary to address increased student population.
Ray school district received $350,000 to address the need for affordable housing for teachers. The district wants to build a four-plex to house teachers. It owns four properties housing nine people and report that it is nearing the limit of its bonded indebtedness.
Yellowstone Public School District in McKenzie County received $30,000 to update bathrooms being used by additional students.
In addition, Dunn County received $250,000 for water trucks and trailers and fire department support in Manning; McKenzie County received $25,000 for highway and street signage in Watford City; Mountrail County received $200,000 to overlay the Palermo South Road in Stanley; Ward County received $200,000 to modify space usage to increase inmate room at the jail in Minot.
"The grants awarded today will further enhance public safety in our oil-producing counties and help six school districts develop the affordable housing needed to attract and retain quality teachers," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a press release on Friday. "The Energy Impact Grant program has proved to be a valuable tool that allows us to quickly address a wide variety of needs in our oil-producing counties.
"We will continue working with local officials and community leaders to meet the region's current and long-term needs," Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member state Land Board. Other board members are: Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead.
About $125 million in Energy Impact Grant funds have been approved during the current budget cycle. The state grants are being used to develop affordable housing for teachers and other essential service personal; to provide additional classroom space; to facilitate the development of child care centers; to support law enforcement agencies and to enhance emergency services. Cities are using the funding to expand water supply systems; extend sewer lines and city streets and to make other improvements that support the development. The state funding also is being used for major improvements to county and township roadways.
The Land Board is expected to award another $2.5 million in energy impact grants in December. The state Department of Trust Lands Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office is accepting grant applications through October for township road improvements.
Dalrymple said he will recommend that the Legislature increase the Energy Impact Grant Fund to $150 million for the 2013-2015 biennium. Dalrymple also supports changing the oil and gas production tax formula in favor of the local counties, cities and schools. Additionally, the governor supports creating a statewide, low-interest loan program of $200 million to help school districts finance building projects.