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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas oil and gas boom fueled by hydraulic fracturing and new horizontal drilling techniques has generated a record $1.26 billion this year to support K-12 public education.
The San Antonio Express-News reports (http://bit.ly/1r2AJT0 ) that the Texas General Land Office released the fiscal 2014 figures on Wednesday. Office spokesman Jim Suydam said the boon is due to a rapid increase in drilling on state lands, including acreage on the Barnett Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale.
The money comes from the state's Permanent School Fund, now valued at more than $34 billion. The fund is generated by oil and gas royalties, lease rentals, bonuses and other sources. Only the fund's interest can be spent.
Lease income surged sevenfold in 2014 as compared to 2013, and lease bonus income jumped 86 percent over the same period.
"Oil and gas have been very good for public education in Texas, but we're really starting to see the fruits of our efforts to diversify our income stream," Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in a statement.
Earned interest is distributed by the State Board of Education to Texas school districts on a per-pupil basis.
"The extra money for public education will help," Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison said in an email. "But unfortunately, it won't change the fact that several hundred school districts in Texas will remain underfunded until the Legislature comes up with a plan for adequately and fairly funding all Texas schools."
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com
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