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Lewisville ISD Eyes Drilling Near Schools To Ease Budget

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – After a year of turning down gas companies that came courting, Lewisville ISD‘s board made a unanimous decision Monday night to see what a lease might be worth.

The district will seek lease proposals for Harmon and Killough high schools, their 9th & 10th grade centers for Lewisville High.

Both have been the subject of interest for companies.

But after a previous lease ran out in 2010, the district decided not to sign again due to strong feelings from the community about urban drilling.

“The community and its feeling about it hasn’t changed,” said Lewsville ISD spokesperson Karen Permetti. “The way the companies are pursuing our assets has changed.”

Gas companies filed a Rule 37 request to the state to get closer to district minerals.  If granted, it would allow Titan Operating to drill one path just 47 feet from the district property line, possibly close enough to drain the district of any minerals it has underground.

The district said it was never officially notified by Titan of the plan, but has since filed an appeal.

If it were to lose though, it could not only lose its minerals, but also its standing to negotiate safety measures to protect students.  “The district would have no say, financially, or in safety,” Permetti said.

A lease would allow the district to negotiate setbacks and possibly air testing rules, including who would conduct the tests and pay for them.

Some board members Monday said that was the primary reason they wanted staff to pursue leasing options. The money could potentially be valuable as well to the district, which faces a two-year, $52 million dollar budget shortfall.

In order to trim the budget, the district is offering an incentive plan again this year to staff who resign.

The district’s appeal hearing will be held before the Railroad Commission of Texas next month in Austin.

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