Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R–Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) introduced legislation (S. 3654) to extend the Federal Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program for an additional year (FY 2019). There are only a few weeks remaining to finalize the FY 2019 appropriations process. If Congress fails to renew this long-standing federal obligation to forested county governments and forested school districts, the expiration of SRS will be difficult for many of California’s forested communities.
Congress enacted SRS in 2000 to provide funding for rural counties and school districts to replace revenue from dwindling forest receipts due to a national decline in timber harvesting. In March 2018, Congress enacted a comprehensive 2018 federal spending plan which reauthorized two years of SRS payments for FY 2017 and FY 2018. The authorization of SRS expired on September 30, 2018; however, counties are expected to receive their 2018 payment in the coming weeks.
RCRC member counties are encouraged to submit letters of support to their House and Senate representatives and share them with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff. RCRC’s letter of support for S. 3654 can be accessed here. S. 3654 can be accessed here.