State Lawmaker Proposes Relief For Rural Schools

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Historically, schools in counties dominated by U.S. forest service lands have received a portion of timber sale revenues.  When those declined, Congress authorized supplemental funding.  But that has expired, and Congress is debating whether to re-authorize it.  Mike Ricketts represents county superintendents in California.  He says more than 200 school districts and county offices of education rely on that money:

“They’re sending out layoff notices to teachers for this coming year because that’s a state requirement that be done by March 15th, so districts right now are planning on not receiving these funds because the federal government hasn’t acted.”

Republican Senator Sam Aanestad is behind a bill to provide schools with state loans as a stop-gap.  But some fear that would give the federal government less incentive to act.  The bill is sponsored by the Schwarzenegger administration, and has cleared its first committee hurdle. 

Counties that would be affected (some get much more assistance than others) include:
El Dorado, Del Norte Placer, Lassen, Humboldt, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, San Diego, Riverside, Modoc, Del Norte, Amador, Fresno, Tehama, Sierra, Trinity, Tuolomne, Ventura, Yuba, San Bernadino.