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Forest Service Funding - 2018


Secure Rural Schools Funding

On May 16, 2018, the Messenger Index reported on the U.S. Forest Service payment of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funds. Unfortunately, the article was incorrect in the amount received by Emmett School District and how these funds are used.

First, the Secure Rural School (SRS) funds are for more than just schools. Sen Mike Crapo explained the use of these funds in an op-ed piece encouraging support for this legislation.  “The SRS program expired in the fall of 2015 and requires congressional reauthorization,” Crapo writes. “The lapse in this federal obligation makes many Idaho counties face considerable challenges meeting local needs.  Schools, roads, emergency services, forest health projects and other important services are supported through the SRS program.  According to the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho counties received in total about $22 million in SRS payments last year.  This year, that number has dropped to $2 million.”

Congress reauthorized payments for SRS for two more years. The SRS program, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, provided $101,710.30 to Gem County, with $24,409.57 of these funds being distributed to the Emmett School District.

In the article it stated that these funds were distributed through Title I and Title II Payments. However, the description of these two titles were taken from a different law, Improving the Academic Achievement of Disadvantaged, that does not relate to SRS. Title 1 for SRS is for public schools and roads and  “Title II Funds may be used for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat, and other resource objectives consistent with the Act on Federal land and on non-Federal land where projects would benefit the resources on Federal land.”

The funds received by the Emmett School District have been reserved for emergency maintenance or other emergency projects that arise during the school year. 



Wayne Rush