Legislation Introduced Earlier This Year Reauthorizes the Program
Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced that Colorado will receive more than $10 million to support public schools, roads, and other municipal services through the Forest Service’s Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. The funding will be delivered as payments to eligible counties.
“The Secure Rural Schools program is critical to our state, providing important investments in our rural schools, roads, and emergency services,” said Bennet. “In the months ahead, Congress should look to extend this partnership and provide certainty for local governments by reauthorizing SRS.”
In addition to payments for schools and roads, SRS supports Firewise Communities programs, reimburses counties for emergency services on national forests, and funds development of community wildfire protection plans.
The Forest Service retains a portion of SRS program funds to support projects that improve forest conditions and support jobs in rural communities. Resource advisory committees, made up of local residents representing varied areas of interest and expertise, review and recommend projects that meet their local needs.
In the Senate, Bennet has long supported reauthorizing and fully funding SRS. Earlier this year, Bennet and a bipartisan group of his colleagues introduced legislation to reauthorize the program for two years.
In 2017, he introduced legislation to reauthorize SRS and secured a two-year reauthorization in the 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill. Then in 2018, Bennet and a bipartisan group of senators urged Senate leadership to include reauthorization for SRS in any end-of-year package. In 2019, he supported legislation that would extend SRS through fiscal year (FY) 2020. Later that year, Congress reauthorized SRS for FY19 and FY20.
A breakdown of funding by state and county is available HERE.
Thirty-eight of Colorado’s 64 counties will receive at least some funding from the program; most, but not all of them in rural areas. Under the formula for full payment base amounts, Chaffee County will receive $262,313, which is a combination of Title I, Title II, and Title III funding.