How plunging oil prices are reversing fortunes across Texas.

Oil Patch Schools Facing Budget Nightmare

During the oil boom, Cuero voters approved a $76 million bond to construct a performing arts center and two elementary schools that are still under construction. The facilities are expected to open this fall.
During the oil boom, Cuero voters approved a $76 million bond to construct a performing arts center and two elementary schools that are still under construction. The facilities are expected to open this fall.

The oil bust is threatening to deal a serious financial blow to school districts in oil-producing regions across the state — particularly if it lingers. In one district in South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale, property values plummeted more than 50 percent last year and are expected to do the same again this year. 

Mayor Jerry Morales stands by the counter in Mulberry Cafe, which he bought months after oil prices tanked. The Midland native made the purchase not without some trepidation, he said, but knowing that things would bounce back eventually.
Mayor Jerry Morales stands by the counter in Mulberry Cafe, which he bought months after oil prices tanked. The Midland native made the purchase not without some trepidation, he said, but knowing that things would bounce back eventually.

Despite Oil Bust, Midland is Still Bustling

Amid the worst oil bust in decades, the energy capital of West Texas hasn’t slowed down much.

Bruce Jones, president of Perryton-Ochiltree Chamber of Commerce, offered a sip of a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage to a man from Woodward, Okla., on June 16, 1987. The driver was passing by during a town celebration of rising oil prices.
Bruce Jones, president of Perryton-Ochiltree Chamber of Commerce, offered a sip of a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage to a man from Woodward, Okla., on June 16, 1987. The driver was passing by during a town celebration of rising oil prices.

At the Top of Texas, Town Offers Lessons In Oil Bust Survival

Nearly three decades ago, Perryton's town-wide celebration for $20-per-barrel oil made news across the country, delivering a hopeful message to those mired in an oil bust. The Panhandle town faces a modern day oil bust, but residents are sure they'll stay on the map.

Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.
Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.

In Texas Drilling Country, Oil Plunge Means Too Many Rooms at the Inn

Cotulla, population 4,000, built 20 hotels during a yearslong oil boom, calling itself the "Hotel Capital" of the Eagle Ford Shale. A plunge in oil prices has prompted questions about whether that was a good idea.