BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A state board on Thursday awarded $625,000 to four cities and a school district in western North Dakota to help finance the development or expansion of child care centers, a service that is difficult to find in the booming oil region.
The Board of University and School Lands voted to award $125,000 in grants each to the cities of Cosby, Killdeer, Watford City and Williston, and another $125,000 to the Nesson school district, which is located in Ray.
The board recently set up an experimental grant program to help finance child care businesses. The money can be used to cover up to half the cost of setting up a day care center and buying equipment. The grants also may be spent on expanding child care facilities already in business.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple is chairman of the land board. Other members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Wayne Sanstead, the state superintendent of public instruction.
Board members oversee the leasing of rights to graze cattle and explore for oil and gas on state land, and the investment of the proceeds from doing so.
Dalrymple said the grants were needed because the economic boom in North Dakota's western oil region "has created a growing need for child care services at a time when rising property values are making it more difficult to establish these facilities."
Last year, the North Dakota Legislature provided $135 million in grant funds for the board to distribute to ease the impact of oil development. The board has allocated about $120 million for schools, public works projects, aid to emergency services providers and other initiatives.