Secure Rural Schools Funding Authorized Under Recently Passed Bipartisan Bill
Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's announcement today that Colorado counties will receive $9,847,536 in funding from the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Much of the funding will go to rural school districts. The SRS program was recently extended as a part of the passage of a bill to permanently fix the Medicare reimbursement system. The SRS program provides vital resources for public schools, road improvements, and maintenance projects, in more than 700 rural counties nationwide. The provision extended funding for the SRS program for two years at 95 percent of the previous year's level.
"This announcement is great news for Colorado counties that rely on these resources to fund maintenance and improvement projects and for rural school districts that use the funding to help educate kids," Bennet said. "We are pleased that Congress was able to come together to extend this program, however, we need to continue working on a long-term extension that will provide communities with the certainty they need to plan and budget."
The SRS program expired in 2014, leaving many rural school districts and local governments with budget shortfalls. Bennet sponsored a bill with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in February to extend the SRS program for three years at 2011 funding levels, rolling back years of declining payments. The bill would also permanently restore funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
The SRS program was originally created to offset the reduction in timber receipts that counties were receiving as timber harvests declined on federal land. Colorado counties with school districts receiving funding include: Alamosa, Archuleta, Boulder, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Jefferson, La Plata, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, and Teller. For a full list of individual county funding click here.
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