Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Max Baucus, D-Mont, pledged Friday to secure another year’s funding for the Secure Rural Schools Program.
The program, first authorized in 2000, provides federal funds to primarily rural western communities that have seen funding for their schools dry up as timber harvests have declined. Historically, timber companies paid royalties for the right to cut on federal land, much of which was directed to rural school districts to make up for the fact that federal lands are exempt from state and local property taxes.
In a news release issued Friday, Wyden and Baucus vowed to renew the Secure Rural Schools Program for another year in order to find time to develop a longer-term solution.
The program cost the federal government $346 million in fiscal year 2012, with $102 million directed to Oregon.