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School Funding Cuts Hit Harder in Rural Areas

Last year Congress eliminated the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program which helps conunties with large amounts of federal land make up some fo their tax shortfalls. The cuts will have a disproportionate impact in rural areas according to an analyisis by Headwaters Economics.

Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced a bipartisan bill in February 2015 to renew the SRS program, which supports schools, law-enforcement and roads in more than 700 rural counties across the country. The legislation also addresses additional payments to counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

Just in case you need reminding, Lemhi County is comprised of 91% public land. That equates to nearly $500,000 to the local Salmon School District (Salmon School District Mar 2015) and approximately $2 million to the Lemhi County annual budget.

Tim Marema of the Daily Yonder writes about this issue that every rural, public lands dependent community in the West should know about…


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