Blanket ISD receives $835,000 payment from wind farm agreement
BLANKET, Texas - Wind turbines are proving to be a boon for the Blanket Independent School District.
The small rural school district, with a student body of almost 200 kids and a yearly operating budget of $2.6 million, is seeing its agreement to lease some of its land for wind production finally pay off.
Blanket ISD received a remittance payment of $835,000 last Wednesday from Austin-based firm Logan's Gap Wind.
"Schools do struggle for money," Blanket ISD Superintendent David Wishenhunt said Monday. "When you get a big influx of money like what we just got, to me, that opens a lot of doors."
In 2013, the school district made a chapter 313 agreement with Logan's Gap to lease a portion of its land in Comanche County for the production of 13 wind turbines. These agreements give companies a tax credit for building on school-owned property, according to the Texas Comptroller's website.
The company expects to see a tax savings of $1.8 million, which it will pay to Blanket over the course of seven years, according to the agreement.
"I'm excited about the impact it has on our students because they will see a true benefit," Wisenhunt said.
Hope Heard is a senior who's taking college courses online paid by the school district. The valedictorian will graduate in May with both her high school diploma and an associate degree from Ranger College.
"The first year I had taken colleges classes I was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to do all this,'" Heard said. "But you get down to time management and it gets real easy."
Wisenhunt said this payment allows him to expand the college-level classes the district can offer.
The wind turbines are expected to increase the property value in Blanket over the years, causing a decrease in the amount of state funds the school district receives as property tax revenues go up, according to Wisenhunt.
But Wisenhunt said he's expecting the school to see a net gain of $50,000 with payments from the wind turbines offsetting state cuts.
The recent payment will allow Blanket ISD to resurface its track and football field next week after eight years of falling into disarray.