Daines, Zinke Call for Reauthorization of Critical Secure Rural Schools Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana Senator Steve Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke today called on Senate and House leaders to swiftly move forward legislation to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, Daines and Zinke stressed the importance of the federal government honoring its commitment and providing forested Montana counties with much-needed funding for schools and infrastructure.

“SRS provides forested counties in Montana and many other states with crucial financial support for roads, schools, and other important services. While we recognize the need for a long-term solution, we support reauthorizing SRS because it is essential that the federal government honor its commitment to sufficiently compensate counties with federally-held lands,” Daines and Zinke wrote. “We therefore believe it is critical that Congress pass a short-term extension of SRS that provides rural counties with the certainty and support they deserve.”

Daines’ and Zinke’s full letter is available HERE.

Last year, the 113th Congress failed to reauthorize SRS funding following the program’s expiration on September 30, 2014.

The Forest Service recently announced that it would make payments to Montana counties under the Twenty-Five Percent Fund Act of 1908, which provides a fraction of the funds Montana counties would have received under SRS.

Under the 1908 law, Montana counties will only receive $2.1 million for FY 2014 – compared to the $18.7 million received under SRS in FY 2013.