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North Dakota land board gives $7 million in grants to schools

North Dakota land board gives $7 million in grants to schools

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BISMARCK, N.D. _ Nearly $7 million in grants for immediate school district needs was approved by state officials during a special meeting Thursday morning.

The North Dakota Board of University and School Lands approved $6.8 million from the Oil and Gas Impact Grant Fund for emergency needs for 23 school districts serving kindergarten through grade 12. The five-member board approved the recommendations unanimously.

State Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe told the board the grants were chosen from a total of 42 applications amounting to $21.4 million in requests.

The grants were awarded to projects relating to school safety, teacher housing and temporary classrooms.

“Some of the needs aren’t known until school starts,” Gaebe said.

He said a second K-12 grant round is to be held in the fall.

The largest individual grant awarded was $1.79 million to McKenzie Public School District No. 1. The district will use the money for school safety upgrades, employee housing, security and lockers.

One of the most prominent purposes of grant requests approved Thursday was for employee housing in oil patch school districts.

The school district in Mandaree was awarded $800,000 for the purchase of an eight-plex for employee housing. Divide County Public Schools were given $464,000 for a four-plex for employee housing, and Killdeer schools were awarded $457,600 for a pair of duplex units.

Other districts also received lesser amounts for employee housing.

Killdeer also received $328,000 for classroom remodeling and portable classroom units. A total of $385,044 was given to South Heart schools for modular units, while $280,000 is headed to Surrey schools for portable classrooms.

The board approved the requests following discussion on a future K-12 grant round, which the board decided would take place between September and November.

Grants from the $240 million Oil and Gas Impact Grant Fund are set up so that no more than 60 percent of the funds can be allocated in a single year. So far, more than $120.7 million has been approved for the 2013-15 biennium.

The land board is made up of the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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