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Letter to Senators Conrad and Collins Supporting Their Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) Reauthorization Act

July 14, 2009

Dear Senators Conrad and Collins:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for your Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) Reauthorization Act (S. 1052).  We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation to strengthen the Rural Education Achievement Program.

Nearly one-third of our nation’s public schools are located in rural areas, and more than 21 percent of our public school students attend these schools.  REAP allows our nation’s poorest, smallest, and most geographically isolated rural schools to receive additional funding and flexibility in order to give them the tools required to undertake significant reform.

The REAP Reauthorization Act will accomplish a number of important changes, including:

  • Allowing districts that are eligible for both programs the opportunity to participate in the Rural and Low Income School Program if they do not receive any financial benefit from the Small and Rural Schools Achievement Program.
  • Updating the locale codes used to classify rural schools to be consistent with those developed by the Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Increasing the minimum and maximum grants under the Small and Rural Schools Achievement Program to $25,000 and $80,000, respectively, when the appropriation for REAP reaches $200 million.
  • Changing the poverty measure from 20 percent of poverty as determined by the census to 40 percent free and reduced lunch.  This is a much more accurate measure of poverty within a rural school district.

Thank you for your work on these important updates to a very good program.  We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure great public schools for every student. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy