Gov. Jack Dalrymple and other members of the state Board of University and School Lands unanimously voted today to award a matching grant of $3 million to the Williston Public School District. With the Energy Impact Grant funding, Williston school officials will be able to purchase or lease portable classrooms to meet the district's growing student enrollment. School officials are planning for a significant enrollment increase in September.
"Williston's public schools are experiencing rapid enrollment growth and the local funding sources that generally accompany growth haven't caught up to meet the district's needs," Dalrymple said. "The state Energy Impact Fund was created to address these types of situations and I am pleased that the state is able to help the school district move forward with expansion plans.
"With this financial assistance, Williston schools will be able to add needed classroom space for this fall, while they continue the district's long-term planning," Dalrymple said.
The state Board of University and School Lands (state Land Board) voted unanimously to adopt policy that establishes grant eligibility criteria for Oil Patch schools that face classroom shortages. The board allocated $5 million in Impact Grant funding and awarded Williston School District a $3 million matching grant. Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member state Land Board. Other board members are: Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead and state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
Eligible school districts are located within the state's oil and gas counties. They must meet rapid enrollment criteria and demonstrate a need for state assistance to purchase or lease portable classrooms. The grants cover 80 percent of costs, with 20 percent required from eligible school districts. The maximum allowable cost for portable classrooms is $150,000. Grants can be used to help pay leases for portable classrooms for the 2012-2013 school year, or the first year of a lease-to-purchase agreement. Other allowable expenses include necessary classroom equipment, infrastructure costs including land preparation, electricity, sewer, water and the costs of architectural and construction design.