Report: Fracking Funds Texas Schools
Monday, November 30, 2015
A new report from North Texans for Natural Gas highlights how oil and natural gas production benefits public schools and universities all across Texas. Oil and natural gas development is a key economic driver in the Lone Star State – in large part thanks to technologies like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling – and the revenues it generates fund a variety of public services, including education.
The report finds that, in total, the oil and natural gas industry contributes over $4 billion per year to the Texas education system.
Key findings from the report include:
● Oil and natural gas production generated over $1.5 billion in property tax revenue for Texas schools in the 2014 financial year.
● The Permanent School Fund, a state education endowment that supports K-12 public schools, receives over half a billion dollars annually ($676 million in 2014) from oil and natural gas revenues.
● In the 2015 fiscal year, the Foundation School Fund – the primary means of delivering state funds to school districts – received over $1 billion in revenue from oil and natural gas production taxes.
● There are 230 Independent School Districts where oil and natural gas revenues exceed $1 million.
● The Permanent University Fund, an endowment that supports the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems through oil and natural gas royalties on certain state-owned lands, is currently valued at $21.8 billion.
The report quantifies how Texas students have benefited from oil and natural gas taxes and royalties, which are paid into several state education funds – including the Foundation School Fund, Permanent School Fund and Permanent University Fund. Especially noteworthy is how revenues from oil and natural gas production have helped make the Permanent School Fund the second largest educational endowment in the country, worth $34.5 billion.
In addition, the report examines how local independent school districts also benefit from property tax revenues paid by the oil and natural gas industry. Over 200 school districts received over a million dollars last year from oil and natural gas property tax payments, with a handful of school districts in West Texas receiving over $50 million. In many cases, these tax payments account for over a half of the school district’s tax base. The report also details how the energy industry frequently partners with local high schools and universities for specialized oil and natural gas-related education programs, helping to train the next generation of Texas workers.
Oil and natural gas production plays an integral role in Texas’ education system, and every student in the state directly benefits. By providing billions of dollars in funding to Texas schools and universities each year, oil and natural gas is helping to support higher teacher salaries, better facilities, and training programs that give students the necessary skills to succeed.
The full report can be downloaded here.