News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
School Hurricane Aid Included in War Bills
School districts hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 would receive $30 million to attract teachers, under a supplemental-spending bill approved by the Senate last week. The $123.2 billion bill is meant primarily to provide additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The measure, which passed March 29 by a vote of 51-47, would allow hurricane-ravaged districts in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to provide bonuses to attract teachers and administrators. It would also provide $30 million for colleges hit by the hurricanes. The House passed a measure on March 23 that includes the same level of funding for both schools and colleges.
The Senate measure would also extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, a spending program that provided federal aid to counties that are home to national forests to make up for diminished timber revenues.
The program expired in September, and communities received the last of their payments in December, leaving some fearful that they may have to lay off teachers or close schools. ("Rural Districts Fear Loss of Timber Revenue," Feb. 28, 2007.)
Vol. 26, Issue 31, Page 23