Education

Long-Term Funding Solution Could Cost Rural Schools

By Diette Courrégé Casey — September 23, 2013 2 min read

A new logging bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday means rural schools in timber-rich areas likely would see cuts to their education funding, but education advocates still supported the measure because it offered a long-term funding solution for those schools.

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act has given rural communities in national forest areas federal money to compensate for revenue lost because of restrictions on harvesting timber. School districts have relied on that money for decades, but the legislation expired last year. It was reauthorized last summer for one year, and this site gives a state-by-state breakdown of the funding (Oregon leads the pack with $63 million, followed by California at $35.8 million).

The Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act passed Friday by the House would end that direct aid program after one year and leave schools dependent on logging money, according to the Huffington Post. The story cited figures from a Montana-based economic research firm that showed the bill would cut funding for rural schools by as much as $65 million and for counties by as much as $70 million per year.

Although schools likely would see a funding cut, groups such as the National Education Association and the National Association of Counties were supportive of the legislation.

“This bill provides a path forward to providing a lifeline for rural schools in great need: dependable sources of funding,” according to a letter from the NEA to members of the House. “Among its five titles, it provides an approach for long-term funding for communities that currently receive Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act dollars, as well as crucial transition funding.”

In its endorsement of the legislation, the NEA said this would be a sustainable approach to meeting students’ needs and ensuring the economic vitality of forested communities in rural areas.

“Moreover, we commend the authors of this bill for providing the necessary transition funding to maintain stability in such communities,” according to the NEA. “This funding is absolutely critical as school districts strive to meet our students’ needs.

Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, a grassroots coalition that has been advocating for a permanent solution for rural communities and federal forest lands, called the House’s passage of the legislation “the most significant forest management legislation to advance in years, and it shows that Congress is serious about addressing the environmental and economic problems that are plaguing the forests and the Americans who depend on this renewable resource for their livelihoods.”

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill, and every major U.S. environmental group views the bill “as an ecological nightmare,” according to the Huffington Post story. Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities called it “disappointing that the Obama administration continues to ignore the stark realities facing our forests and communities by threatening to veto the legislation.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read