December 5, 2016

(RURAL EDUCATION, ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

Congress Must Act Now: Fund Secure Rural Schools Program!

Background: The Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program was intended as a safety net for forest communities in 42 states.  SRS payments are based on historic precedent and agreements removing federal lands from local tax bases and from full local community economic activity.  The expectation is that the federal government and Congress will develop a long-term system based on sustainable active forest management. Congress needs to act on active long term forest management programs generating local jobs and revenues. 

Relevance: As we begin the final weeks of 2016 and the 114th Congress, the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act (Forest Counties) remains zero-funded. While Congress funded SRS for 2014 and 2015, they have not funded SRS for 2016, meaning that 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools in rural communities and school districts served by the SRS program are currently receiving zero funding through this program. With these cuts, forest counties and schools face the loss of irreplaceable essential fire, police, road and bridge, community and educational services.  We, at a minimum, need Congress to approve a one-year funding fix (including retro-active funding) for the current school year. As it stands right now, there is zero funding available for the current school year. If Congress is feeling ambitious, a two- or three-year funding fix would be welcome, but the overall goal is to secure a program extension/reauthorization. The broader bill that the program falls under includes the politically divisive topic of forest management, and the politics around whether to cut trees or not carries a weight that has, to date, left the program unauthorized and now, unfunded. 

Call to Action: Contact your members of Congress (your Senators and your Representative) to discuss Secure Rural Schools (SRS, or Forest Counties).  Let them know what your budget looks like without this funding and that they need to do something for SRS funding. And, ask them to relay their concern and desire for action with Congressional leadership.  It is critical that Leadership hears from Members that SRS and Forest Management are issues that must be addressed as Congress comes back to work for the Lame Duck session.  Create your own story about what happens if we get nothing. 

In addition to your Senators and Representative, please contact any House/Senate leadership from your state. A full list of House and Senate leadership is below: 

Please contact the advocacy team if you need email addresses for the education staffers in any of these offices. 

House of Representatives: Leadership

 

  • Speaker: Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) 
  • Majority Leader: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 
  • Majority Whip: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) 
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 
  • Republican Policy Committee Chairman: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) 
  • Democratic Leader: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 
  • Democratic Whip: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) 
  • Assistant Democratic Leader: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) 
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)  

 

US Senate Leadership

 

  • Republican Majority Leader: Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 
  • Majority Whip:  John Cornyn (R-TX) 
  • Republican Conference Chair: John Thune (R-SD) 
  • Republican Policy Committee Chair: John Barrasso (R-WY) 
  • Republican Conference Vice Chair: Roy Blunt (R-MO) 
  • Democratic Minority Leader: Harry Reid (D-NV) 
  • Democratic Whip: Richard Durbin (D-IL) 
  • Democratic Conference Committee Chair: Charles Schumer (D-NY) 
  • Democratic Conference Committee Vice Chair & Policy Committee Chair: Patty Murray (D-WA)