Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Secretary Vilsack Announces Rural Schools Payments
WASHINGTON-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $285 million will go to 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico this year in support of local schools and roads as part of the Congressional two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.
"This support is part of the administration's ongoing commitment to rural communities," said Secretary Vilsack. "The Forest Service's century-long support of America's public schools and roads is one of many ways in which USDA helps rural communities remain self-sustaining and prosperous."
"I'm grateful for the Congressional action to reauthorize this Act and understand how important these funds have become to the communities that receive them," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "We've been anticipating its passage and we are positioned to make the payments as rapidly as possible."
The payments from the Forest Service may be used to support public schools and public roads, for projects to help maintain and improve the health of forests; and for county projects including "Firewise Communities" programs, reimbursements for emergency services on national forests, and development of community wildfire protection plans.
The forest projects are reviewed and recommended by resource advisory committees made up of local residents working together to improve the environment and to help provide jobs in rural communities.