December 20, 2019

Congressman Neguse Bill to Secure Funding for Rural Schools in Colorado Mountain Communities Signed Into Law

Washington, D.C.— Today, bipartisan legislation led by Congressman Joe Neguse to secure funding for rural schools in Colorado mountain counties was signed into law by the President. The Secure Rural Schools Extension Act, which Neguse introduced in May, was included in the end-of-year minibus package that will fund the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Energy, Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and the Legislative Branch.

The bill, co-led with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers will extend the Secure Rural Schools program through Fiscal Year 2020. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) was first introduced in 2000 to assist counties containing tracts of federally-owned land that are tax-exempt. The program provides payments derived in part through timber receipts and other leasing activities within National Forests back to county governments where those forests are located.

“The Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program is a primary source of funding for schools, mountain search and rescue, road maintenance and other services that Coloradans rely on. We are obligated to maintain this program which provides for these integral services,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “I’m proud to see this legislation signed into law. ”

“The Secure Rural School (SRS) funding is a vital part of West Grand School District's annual budgetary planning. The funding supports our efforts to provide updated technology access for all students and teachers, ensure safe and healthy learning environments, provide essential professional development for our entire team, and enable further maintenance and repair to school facilities and transportation,” said Darrin Peppard, Superintendent for West Grand 1JT School District. “As a district, we are committed to excellence in learning, leadership, and engagement for all. SRS funding gives us an important support in achieving our goals.”

“As a rural district, Summit Schools depends on SRS funds to provide for the needs of our students,” said Kerry Buhler, Superintendent of Summit School District. “We greatly appreciate the bipartisan efforts for these funds to continue so that we may give our students what they deserve in terms of programming and support.”

In 2018, counties in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District received over $2 million in payments from the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS), with Grand County receiving $1,393,142, Summit County receiving $816,432, Eagle receiving $763,609.80, Clear Creek receiving $424,351, Larimer receiving $307,915, Park receiving $42,664, Boulder receiving $39,346, Jefferson receiving $37,199 and Gilpin receiving $29,972. 

Legislation from Congressman Neguse to extend the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program was also signed into law.