Media Archive

$3.6 million in federal money OK'ed for rural schools

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 43, October 23, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC Senator Susan Collins announced this week that rural schools and school districts in Maine will receive more than $3.6 million in additional funding under the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP), legislation she authored.

The $3.6 million of REAP funding awarded to Maine is distributed under two programs: Under REAP's Small and Rural Schools Achievement program, 110 districts in Maine will receive awards totaling nearly $1.7 million in additional federal funding, with average awards of approximately $16,000. In addition, under REAP's Rural and Low Income Schools program, the Maine Department of Education has received $1.9 million to be distributed in subgrants to 48 additional rural and low income districts in Maine that are not eligible under the Small and Rural Schools Achievement program.

"The Rural Education Achievement Program was designed to level the playing field for small and high poverty rural school systems and make sure all students in Maine have access to the same high quality education," said Senator Collins. "This funding will give rural school systems more flexibility to meet their unique local needs. It also allows rural districts to combine some grants that are awarded under specific categories, and use that total sum to address the school district's highest priorities."

The Rural Education Achievement Program was designed to help school systems that receive less federal formula funding and are frequently at a disadvantage when applying for competitive grants. By allowing small
and rural school districts to combine funds, as well as providing additional funds based on enrollment, these districts are finally achieving the critical mass of funding required to undertake significant reform.

"Last year under REAP, Woodland, New Sweden, and Stockholm were able to engage in a joint effort to support technology training in classroom integration for all their staff. The towns also used some of the funds to start an art program in the three districts. Without these funds, neither of the two projects would be possible," said Senator Collins.

Since enactment of REAP, Senator Collins has led the fight to secure funding for the program through the appropriations process, and has successfully increased federal funding for REAP each year. Last year, Maine's small and rural school districts received an additional $2.1 million in funds through the REAP program.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.