Montana News

Dec 4, 2013 5:45 PM by MTN News

Grants available to help oil and gas impacted schools

Helena, MT - Superintendent Denise Juneau announced the availability of grants for oil and gas impacted schools that are receiving oil and natural gas production taxes in an amount less than 20 percent of the district's maximum general fund budget. The OPI will grant nearly $450,000 in awards, with the maximum award per district estimated to be $75,000.

There are currently 90 school districts that are eligible for the State School Oil and Natural Gas Impact Grant. School districts must have experienced one or more of the following circumstances directly related to impacts resulting from the development or cessation of development of oil and natural gas during the years 2012-2014:

  • An unusual enrollment increase;
  • An unusual enrollment decrease;
  • Higher rates of student mobility;
  • A need to hire new teachers or staff as a result of increased enrollment;
  • The opening or reopening of an elementary or high school; or
  • Major maintenance for a school or district.

Applications are due January 15, 2014, and grant awards will be announced March 7, 2014.

This is the first year that the OPI will be awarding State School Oil and Natural Gas Impact Grant. Grant funding comes from the state school oil and natural gas impact account, a state special revenue fund, which is collected from a percentage of oil and gas revenue that districts could not retain as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 329 in the 2011 Legislative Session. Eligibility for the grant program was significantly changed in the 2013 Legislative Session with the passage of Senate Bill 175.

For a list of eligible school districts, go to: http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/SchoolFinance/FY14OilGasImpactGrant.pdf.

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