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Increase In Secure Rural Schools Funding?

Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva was part of a contingency in Washington, DC last week, lobbying in support of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act.

The federal program, which benefits schools and roads, was approved last year, but nothing yet this year. Silva was part of a group representing the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition.

The group of five, representing western states, visited 34 Senate offices. At a press conference last Thursday, Silva says five Senators and two House members, pledged support for funding Secure Rural Schools at 150% of the FY 2011 level, which could result in around $2.5 million a year to benefit Tuolumne County roads and schools. The Secure Rural Schools funding has been declining by around 10% over recent years.

“What happens is that the Secure Rural Schools bill would go onto a much larger bill, and they are thinking that there may be an omnibus bill before the end of the year,” adds Silva. “So, we might hear something in November.”

The Secure Rural Schools Act was initially passed years ago to offset revenue losses due to a declining timber industry.