[Marxism] Frack Job » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 21 14:31:47 MDT 2013

Gas “Frackers” Come to a School District’s Rescue?
Frack Job

Two schools, one a vocational technical high school and the other an 
elementary school, sit on tracts of land a few blocks from the house in 
which I grew up, in Ford City (Armstrong County), Pennsylvania. The 
communities served by them are, for the most part, not particularly 
prosperous. Household incomes, wages, home prices, rents, and levels of 
education are below the state average; while poverty, unemployment, and 
air pollution are above it.

Many property owners in the area are elderly women, living on small 
pensions and social security. Their property taxes finance the schools, 
and as these rise, the tax burden can be considerable. This encumbrance 
is made subjectively worse by the fact that these older taxpayers no 
longer have children in school.

For the local school board, rising costs—including those for the ever 
growing number of administrators—and a limited and potentially 
rebellious tax base have created a budget crisis. The current budget 
shows a deficit of five million dollars. However, the board has come up 
with an ingenious way to deal with its revenue shortfall.

To help pay its bills, the school board is courting (or being courted 
by) two energy companies, with an eye toward leasing public property for 
natural gas hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” 
According to the school district’s solicitor, the two “frackers,” which 
are owned by members of the same family, are “offering” to acquire 
leasing rights on tracts of land near the two schools. “We’re trying to 
do what we can to bring some money in,” said Board president Joe Close. 
“Superintendent Stan Chapp said the district projects it could earn up 
to $1.5 million on it during the next 15 to 20 years.”

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/21/frack-job-2/

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