In a typical February, the small Wabaunsee school district just west of Topeka pays a natural gas utility bill of about $4,300. This year, its bill was more than $53,000.
It’s not because classrooms were cranking up the heat. Wabaunsee is just one of hundreds of school districts in Kansas hit by an unprecedented spike in wholesale natural gas prices during February’s record-setting winter storm. Now the state is stepping in with $20 million in loans to help.