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Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Obey, Boehner and Lewis (Jerry) urging reauthorization and funding for forest county schools program

January 18, 2007

Dear Speaker Pelosi:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to include language to reauthorize and fully fund an extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-393) in the Emergency Supplemental. This program is critical to the survivability of over 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools near national forests in 42 states across the country. 

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act has made a real difference for schools in rural, timber-dependent counties, by ensuring them a consistent funding stream. It has been an enormous success, providing essential funding to over 4,400 rural schools. Prior to implementation of this program, schools in forest counties were in crisis, experiencing dramatic reductions in funding. The program has restored critical educational services for students in rural schools and prevented the closure of numerous isolated rural schools. 

Unfortunately, P.L. 106-393 expired at the end of 2006. Failure to reauthorize and fund it immediately will result in a substantial and devastating funding cut for rural counties across the country. Congress has only a short time to act before counties have to start implementing cuts to schools and services. In fact, a number of counties around the country have already begun sending out pink slips notifying employees of potential lay-offs. 

We urge you to include this critical reauthorization language and funding in the forthcoming Emergency Supplemental. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Policy and Politics