Tester Secures More Than $14 Million to Support County Services and Rural Schools in Montana
Secure Rural Schools program provides critical funding for rural schools, roads, and other services from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) announced today more than $14 million to support Montana rural schools, roads, and critical infrastructure through the Secure Rural Schools Program (SRS), which will be funded through Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) by his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Tester negotiated the IIJA and helped pass it into law last year, and he was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to support the bipartisan legislation.
“As a former public school teacher, I know how important it is that every student receives a top-notch education no matter where they live,” Tester said. “These resources will provide critical support for rural schools that are too often overlooked and underfunded. I will continue to fight for our students and teachers that call rural Montana home.”
The Secure Rural Schools Program is one of the main ways the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service supports rural communities, funding schools and counties and providing reimbursements for emergency services. Over the past 10 years, the Forest Service has distributed $2.6 billion through the program.
Last April, Senator Tester secured more than $12 million for Montana schools, law enforcement, and roads through SRS. Before that in 2019, Tester secured authorization for two years of SRS funding to combat the insecurity resulting from stop-and-start authorizations and payments. In 2021, he again pushed for long term solutions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to ease the burden on rural schools and communities. Tester was also instrumental in reviving the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which was originally passed in 2000 to repay forested counties that suffered from the declining timber production on federal lands.