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State’s Rural Schools at Stake as Federal Funding Expires

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Rural schools in California are facing cuts because a federal funding program has expired. And one lawmaker says it's time for the state to step in. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports.

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 reauthorize it. Mike Ricketts represents county superintendents in California. He says more than 200 school districts and county offices of education rely on that money:

Ricketts : They're sending out layoff notices to teachers for this coming year because that's a state requirement that 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 stopgap. 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. Marianne Russ, KPBS News.

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