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The Fabric of Communities

Chris Meyers

September 2019

It’s that time of year: school has officially started in most communities throughout Oklahoma. Parents – and teachers – anxiously look forward to welcoming the start of each new school year, always with the promise of new learning opportunities for children of all ages. It’s a special time of year, filled with new beginnings for students, teachers, parents, even grandparents.

Your local electric cooperatives have an important role in assisting schools and furthering educational opportunities across the state. Because the people who work for electric co-ops care about and have concerns for the communities within their service areas, they often become actively engaged in supporting local schools. Some co-ops do this through grants from their Operation Round-Up programs, where co-op members “round-up” their electric bills to the nearest dollar, enabling the collection of funds that are then dispersed to community organizations – including schools.

Rural – and some urban – school systems throughout Oklahoma are also the recipients of Gross Receipts Tax dollars collected by electric cooperatives and remitted to the state Tax Commission, which then returns those dollars to school systems based on the number of miles of line the local co-op has in each school district. Over $40 million is returned to school systems each year by electric cooperatives, with a small percentage (5 percent) being retained by the State of Oklahoma for administration purposes.

Schools – and electric cooperatives – are often the fabric that tie communities together. They both serve vital functions that promote education, consumer awareness, and enhance the quality of life. Together, they are indeed powering the needs of new generations.