Simpson, Labrador split vote on rural schools funding

Idaho’s House members split their vote on a spending plan that would extend federal funding for schools in timber country.

Mike Simpson
Rep. Mike Simpson

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act was worth $7.2 million to Idaho schools in 2013-14 — with much of the money going to rural districts such as Mountain View, Salmon and McCall-Donnelly.

The two-year extension of the program is included in a larger Medicare spending bill. It passed the House 392-37 and now heads to the Senate.

Second District Rep. Mike Simpson supported the bill, H. R. 2.

“My Western colleagues and I have been working tirelessly to ensure Congress address the immediate needs of Secure Rural Schools payments and I was thrilled that H.R. 2 offered the solution,” said Simpson said in a news release. “Though H.R. 2 is not perfect, you would have to look long and hard to find a reason to vote no.”

Raul Labrador
Rep. Raul Labrador

First District Rep. Raul Labrador said he did find a reason to vote no.

Congressman Labrador has long advocated a lasting solution for Secure Rural Schools,” Labrador press secretary Dan Popkey said in a statement. “Attaching two years of SRS funding to a completely unrelated Medicare bill that adds $141 billion to our $18 trillion debt was unacceptable. The congressman will continue his effort to enact lasting reforms empowering rural counties to generate revenue from underutilized federal forests.”

For a closer look at the Secure Rural Schools program, and its implications for Idaho districts, here’s a link to our recent coverage. And here’s more on the story from the Idaho Statesman’s Rocky Barker.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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