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Oil Boom in North Dakota Crowds Classrooms



From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

The oil industry is growing quickly in the American states of North Dakota and Montana. Removing oil from the ground has made a lot of money for the area and provided many jobs. The industry also has brought thousands of people to small rural cities. Williston, North Dakota, is a good example. The population growth has caused crowding in Williston's schools. John Monger was born and raised in the city. He has taught at Williston's Hagan Elementary School for 24 years. For the last three years, he has taught in a temporary structure called a trailer. The trailer classrooms are smaller than usual. Now Mr. Monger has 18.

Viola LaFontaine leads Williston Public Schools. That area of schools is the smallest in North Dakota. But it is also growing the fastest. She says the schools increased their population by more than 1.000 students in the past four to five years. The majority is in elementary school. In addition, students come from all over the world.

Ms. LaFontaine says it is difficult to deal with continuing changes in the student population. The official says it is also hard to hire qualified teachers and pay for larger and more modern schools. She notes that the state is receiving a lot of money from oil. She has asked the state government for education assistance. voters in Williston District One recently approved a measure to permit building a new high school. The measure will increase property taxed. But education activists say Williston taxes are less than in similar North Dakota communities.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.

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