The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS), a significant source of funding for rural schools, may be on the chopping block.

In the coming days, the House and Senate Conference Committee is set to debate the Senate-passed Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. SRS is an amendment attached to the bill, and the committee could vote to exclude it from the final conference report.

NAESP urged committee members to support extending this critical program. Read the letter here.

First passed by Congress in 2000, SRS provides general revenue for rural counties with large portions of federal forest lands. The funding supports schools and public services, such as road repairs and library services. The last county payments were dispersed earlier this year, and the program expires in Fiscal Year 2011. Absent Congressional action, many counties face serious budget shortfalls—in some counties, SRS payments provided up to 65 percent of operating budgets. Without SRS, many rural schools would face critical reductions in funding, which may lead to layoffs or the cutting of extracurricular activities.

If you live in the state or district of one of the Conference Committee members, you can take action. Call your representative and urge them to support the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill.

The conferees in the Senate include: Barbara Boxer (CA), Max Baucus (MT), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Dick Durbin (IL), Tim Johnson (SD), Chuck Schumer (NY), Bill Nelson (FL), Robert Menendez (NJ), James Inhofe (OK), David Vitter (LA), Orrin Hatch (UT), Richard Shelby (AL), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) and John Hoeven (ND).

House Conferees include:  John Mica (FL), Don Young (AK), John Duncan (TN), Bill Shuster (PA), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Rick Crawford (AR), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Larry Bucshon (IN), Richard Hanna (NY), Steve Southerland (FL), James Lankford (OK), Reid Ribble (WI), Fred Upton (MI), Ed Whitfield (KY), Doc Hastings (WA), Rob Bishop (UT), Ralph Hall (TX), Chip Cravaack (MN), Dave Camp (MI), Patrick Tiberi (OH), Nick Rahall (WV), Peter DeFazio (OR), Jerry Costello (IL), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Corrine Brown (FL), Elijah Cummings (MD), Leonard Boswell (IA), Tim Bishop (NY), Henry Waxman (CA), Ed Markey (MA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).