Idaho State Treasurer, Congressional Delegation Announce Secure Rural Schools Payments
Idaho counties will receive $23.9 million in federal funds for schools
BOISE -- Members of Idaho’s congressional delegation and State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth say Idaho counties will receive a total of $23.9 million in payments this year under the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. The funds are administered through the U.S. Forest Service and based on a formula that takes into account economic activity, timber harvest levels and other considerations that vary from county to county. SRS payments are critical to maintain education programs for many rural counties that contain federal lands exempt from property taxes.
"I want to thank Sen. Crapo and Sen. Risch as well as Congressmen Simpson and Fulcher for obtaining a two-year extension for the Secure Rural Schools program,” said Idaho Treasurer Julie Ellsworth. “Their staff has worked seamlessly with my office and we commend them for helping us distribute these dollars to rural Idaho where they can be put to use improving our communities.”
“The nearly $24 million SRS payments Idaho will receive provides critical funding streams for rural Idahoans,” said Senator Crapo. “I will continue working in Congress to pass federal legislation that makes the SRS program permanent to provide more long-term stability and certainty for communities and school districts home to large swaths of federal land.”
“SRS payments are an essential lifeline for rural communities across Idaho,” said Senator Risch. “These funds will ensure that Idaho counties can provide education and other essential services like search and rescue and road maintenance. I will continue working to keep this vital program functioning while seeking a long term, reliable solution for our counties.”
“I have long advocated and secured critical funding for SRS and PILT,” said Representative Simpson. “SRS is critical for timber counties that need the revenue that pay for critical education needs in our rural counties. I am pleased to see this funding I voted for being distributed to counties at a time that they need it more than ever.”
“The federal government controls 63% of Idaho’s natural resources, preventing these areas from generating revenue and taxes to support our rural schools and infrastructure,” said Representative Fulcher. “Until this land can be utilized, these payments are vital to the success of our rural communities, and I am pleased to see that they will be delivered.”
Payments through the program are seen as a lifeline for many counties that rely on them for school funds as well as law enforcement and infrastructure needs. A two-year extension of SRS funding was included in the end-of-year funding package approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Without the two-year extension of the program, SRS program counties would have been subject to payments based on the outdated 25 percent receipt formula. The extension helps ensure rural communities and school districts home to federal land can provide essential services while bipartisan work continues to end the financial uncertainty thousands of rural counties face nationwide.
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