Funding for Secure Rural Schools program included in budget deal
The bipartisan congressional spending deal to fund the government past Dec. 20 will extend the Secure Rural Schools program for two more years.
The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self‐Determination Act was enacted in 2000 to provide funding for more than 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools located in or near national forests. It was intended to stabilize income for rural regions that relied heavily on receipts from timber sales and other programs.
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests cover more than 1.6 million acres of land across the Virginia mountains. This program has been critical in funding public schools for Virginia communities located within these two national forests.
In the last fiscal year, 51 Virginia counties received a combined $1.34 million in SRS payments, but the program expired at the end of the 2018 fiscal year, creating financial uncertainty for the counties.
Reauthorizing the program for another two years means more than $1 million in additional funding annually for Virginia schools near the national forests.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is a sponsor of S. 430, a bipartisan bill to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. He applauded today’s news that it will be included as part of the bipartisan funding bill.
“Congress left these counties in limbo when the Secure Rural Schools payments expired earlier this year. I’m glad to see that we’re finally stepping in and providing these schools with some certainty. This good news means more than $1 million in funding for Virginia schools located in and around national forests,” said Sen. Warner.
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