Schools Stress Importance of Oil Impact Grants - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Schools Stress Importance of Oil Impact Grants

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Some state lawmakers are questioning if school funding is being properly distributed.Some districts in oil country are receiving a big chunk of change on top of general funds.                          
Funding for school districts comes in many ways, such as taxes and grants. For those in oil country, additional money, oil impact grants, are also available.

Marc Bluestone New Town Schools Superintendent opted out of the oil grant money. Saying his district was financially set for the year.

"We also knew that other schools had other needs that didn't have the revenue source that we have. And so we decided, not to apply. We're trying not to apply for any extra grants or any extra dollars that we know can go to surrounding schools."

Preliminary data from the Department of Public Instruction for the last school year had ending-fund balances of nearly $278.7 million statewide after districts received oil impact grants. The McKenzie, Killdeer and Belfield School Districts were listed as having ending balances of more than 1 million dollars. 

Lawmakers say that money should be given to other districts in need, since those districts already had large balances.

"This question becomes, 'Well we want to spread the money.' Where? Every school that was impacted in oil country, in this part of the state applied for these grants," says Bluestone. "Or could apply for these grants, the committee merely took it. What project was available? How would it fit into the RFP? And then got the money where we think it needed to go."

It may not be long before districts that need more money will step forward to ask for some of it.

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