Time for a fun fact, did you know the success of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico has a direct impact on public school funding in the state? That includes on a collegiate level! Let’s break this proven theory down together.

Time at school is critically important for children in New Mexico. For many, it provides necessary social interaction, instills core values and confidence, and teaches them how to be successful in life. For lower income families, school also provides children meals they may not have otherwise.

Earlier this year, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) reported that the state produced 172 million barrels of oil in 2017, setting a new high for New Mexico. As the third leading state in the country for oil production, this means New Mexico is collecting a lot of funding through taxes thanks to the energy industry. Growing this industry will help everything from the economy, jobs, the state budget, and funding for public schools.

A report done by the New Mexico Tax Research Institute says that $934 million of new oil and gas production goes to education, $711 million distributed among public and charter schools, and $233 million for higher education institutes. In summary, if New Mexico remains a favorable place for oil and gas producers to do business, it will also boost funding for education.

Additional funding also means additional opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom. That field trip to the Palace of the Governors your daughter or son was talking about? The state championship your son’s baseball team just made it to? Perhaps all thanks to the oil and gas industry for their success and monetary donations.

Supporting oil and gas production in New Mexico also means more money for our colleges and universities, which are another large source of income for the state! Schools with updated technology, programs, and amenities attract more students. Imagine move-in day at NMSU, larger than it has ever been before due to program additions and increased opportunities. Proud parents will take their new college attendees out to dinner, out shopping for dorm decorations, and textbook shopping at local businesses in the area. Talk about a win for small businesses and the economy! We’ll dive deeper into that later.

The examples above are just a few reasons why it’s essential to continue discussions regarding the importance of school funding and how to achieve better standards for education through opportunities that are right at our fingertips. It all starts, however, with supporting better policies that take into account not only our environment, but our children and that means making thoughtful decisions when it comes to the oil and gas industry.

Large and small scale companies alike are committed to helping the nation’s school systems. Some companies have invested in future generations by giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the National Math and Science Initiative to ensure students excel. This is just one concrete example of how oil and gas production grows money for our schools.

With a larger budget, New Mexico can improve its quality of education. A 2013 study states that on average New Mexico spends over $9,000 per pupil each year. In addition, the high school graduation rate has held steady at roughly 71 percent over the past five years. Well-funded school programs, educational outlets, and after-school activities are proven to be helpful and contribute nationwide to increasing graduation rates. Unfortunately, New Mexico receives one of the lowest school budgets in the United States. The silver lining, however, is that with the growth of oil and gas production, so too has the state budget – substantially – and it can continue on that path with increased support for the industry!

A bright future for energy means a bright future for all, and that’s a cause we invite you to get behind.