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Introduced in House (06/27/1991)

Rural Schools of America (RSA) Act of 1991 - Title I: Rural School Improvement - Authorizes appropriations for this title.

Directs the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to reserve five percent of specified funds for competitive grant awards to exemplary school programs.

Directs the Secretary to allot, from remaining amounts, to each eligible local educational agency (LEA) with an approved application an amount based on that LEA's relative allocation under certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for education of disadvantaged children (ESEA title I chapter 1). Provides for annual payments to eligible LEAs with approved applications if they comply with certain data collection requirements to monitor progress toward meeting national education goals, and demonstrate such progress. Requires each such LEA to reserve up to five percent of its allotment to make as many grants as practicable, for authorized activities, to community-based organizations or nonprofit partnerships between the LEA and an area-wide collaborative of private sector businesses.

Sets limits on the time and the amount of funds to be used for planning purposes.

Requires LEAs to use funds under this title to meet national education goals through programs designed to: (1) increase the academic achievement of rural school children to at least the national average; (2) prepare all rural children for school; (3) increase the graduation rates of rural students to at least the national average; (4) prepare rural school graduates to enter higher education, pursue careers, and exercise their responsibilities as citizens; (5) recruit and retain qualified teachers; and (6) decrease the use of drugs and alcohol by rural students, and enhance their physical and emotional health.

Sets forth program accountability requirements: (1) in general, for initial grants, renewal grants, and renewal of school participation; (2) for achievement, including demonstration of improvement; and (3) for data collection certification and to monitor progress in achieving national education goals.

Authorizes the Secretary to make, from reserved funds, competitive incentive awards to individual schools participating in projects assisted under this title that demonstrate exemplary progress in meeting specified program requirements.

Directs the Secretary, by January 1, 1993, to report on the impact of Federal regulations, guidelines, and policies on rural public schools.

Requires LEAs desiring to receive an allotment under this Act to establish a local advisory group to: (1) advise on design and conduct of a needs assessment for participating schools; (2) assist in planning for community-wide collaboration in service delivery for youths in participating schools; (3) advise the LEA and the community on how they can work together to use multiple service providers; and (4) advise and assist program implementation and review program evaluation; (5) review and approve community-based organizations' applications; (6) advise on strategies for increasing parental involvement and the number of school volunteers and role models; and (7) review community-based programs' progress or national education goals. Allows use of a comparable existing local advisory group to comply with such requirement.

Sets forth special rules relating to ranking of schools to determine relative need, in general, on the basis of achievement, poverty, and racial isolation. Requires each LEA receiving a grant to serve between ten and 20 percent of its schools. Requires eligible LEAs to have flexibility to serve homeless children, desegregating students, immigrants, migrants, or other highly mobile populations, within the program assisted under this title. Deems any approved program for any school served under certain ESEA title I chapter 1 provisions to be sufficient to meet the application and program accountability requirements of this title.

Title II: School Building Repair and Renovation - Authorizes appropriations to assist eligible LEAs in repairing and renovating instructional facilities in rural schools.

Directs the Secretary to make allotments to State educational agencies based on relative allocations to LEAs under ESEA title I chapter 1.

Directs each SEA after after being allowed to reserve one percent of such funds for administrative expenses, to allot the remainder to eligible LEAs, which shall use half of such allotment for programs for school building repair and renovation, and half for programs for school environmental concerns and safety improvements. (Authorizes the SEA to waive such 50 percent division in certain cases.) Directs the SEA to allocate such funds on the basis of the number of: (1) children from families below the poverty line; (2) school buildings used for instructional purposes; and (3) school buildings more than 25 years old used for instructional purposes.

Limits the period covered by a grant application to three years, and requires annual review.

Lists types of programs eligible LEAs must conduct with their allotments for: (1) repair and renovation of school buildings; and (2) improvements related to environmental concerns and safety.

Title III: Evaluation of Results - Subtitle A: Assistant Secretary - Amends the Department of Education Organization Act to establish an Assistant Secretary for Rural Education in the Department of Education.

Subtitle B: Rural School Research and Evaluation - Authorizes appropriations to carry out this subtitle.

Directs the Secretary to establish for each region a National Rural Regional Education Research Center (Center), to be operated by the appropriate regional educational laboratory.

Requires each Center to: (1) conduct independent research in rural education and distance learning technologies; (2) evaluate progress toward the national education goals of rural schools receivng funds under title I of this Act; (3) be rural education clearinghouses for research findings, policies, and practices; (4) develop measurements of rural schools' progress; (5) disseminate evaluation and research results to other centers and rural school districts and parents; (6) arrange collaboration and consortia among rural schools in the region for joint research and evaluation; (7) replicate successful models and program approaches; (8) provide technical assistance and outreach services for schools; (9) provide staff training; and (10) develop curricula to assist rural schools in moving toward meeting the national education goals.

Requires each Center to reserve 25 percent of funds received under this subtitle for direct grants to rural eligible LEAs within its region, which are participating in a program assisted under title I of this Act, to conduct local school district research and evaluation of efforts toward meeting the national education goals.

Title IV: General Provisions - Establishes the Interagency Council on Rural Schools to: (1) review Federal programs to determine effects on and rural schools' ability to meet national education goals; (2) track school progress toward and such goals; (3) solicit advice and information for rural education experts and rural school representatives on improvement of Federal programs; (4) review Federal regulations for duplication or contradiction; (5) report annually to the Congress and the President on rural school progress; (6) review and recommend improvement for streamlining of Federal data collection in rural schools; and (7) conduct research to help rural school practitioners improve school performance.

Directs the President to conduct a White House Conference on Rural Education before October 30, 1994. Requires the Conference to: (1) develop recommendations and strategies for improving rural education; (2) marshal the forces of the private sector, governmental agencies at all levels, parents, teachers, communities, and education officials to assist rural schools in meeting national goals; and (3) conduct initial planning for a permanent national advisory commission on rural education. Requires reports to the President. Authorizes appropriations for such Conference.

Establishes the Carl D. Perkins National Commission on Rural Education (the Commission). Directs the Commission to: (1) study specified issues relating to rural schools; and (2) report, and recommend changes in Federal legislation, to the President and appropriate congressional committees. Terminates the Commission three years after its first meeting. Authorizes appropriations for the Commission.

Requires eligible LEAs to use Federal funds received under this Act only to supplement but not supplant non-Federal funds.