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Relief coming for North Dakota schools strained by oil boom

BISMARCK, N.D., Aug. 16 (UPI) — The state government in North Dakota said it awarded more than $6 million in grants to schools to help them cope with rapid growth in oil producing areas.

The North Dakota government said Thursday its 821,415 barrels of oil and 930 million cubic feet of natural gas produced per day in June set records for the state.

Oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks shale reserve areas are providing substantial stimulus to its economy. The federal government said North Dakota’s gross domestic product in 2001 ranked 38th out of the 50 states. By 2012, the GDP per capita of $55,250 was 29 percent greater than the national average.

State Gov. Jack Dalrymple said 23 school districts would share $6.85 million in grants to help cope with rapid increases in the number of enrolled students.

“These grants will help school districts meet critical needs as they begin the new school year,” he said in a statement Thursday. “We will continue working with school officials throughout our oil and gas counties to address the impact of rapid growth.”

State legislators said they changed the state’s tax distribution formula so areas with more oil and natural gas production get more money to cope with population growth.

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