STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - June 25, 2013)

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[Pages S5150-S5151]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Ms. COLLINS (for herself and Mr. Baucus):
  S. 1222. A bill to amend the small, rural school achievement program 
and the rural and low-income school program under part B of title VI of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; to the Committee on 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation to 
extend and improve a program aimed at addressing the unique needs of 
rural schools. The Rural Education Achievement Program, or REAP, is 
designed to help level the playing field for small and high-poverty 
rural school systems. It is the only dedicated federal funding stream 
to aid rural school districts in overcoming certain challenges 
associated with geographic isolation.
  Nearly \1/3\ of America's public schools are in rural areas, and more 
than 21 percent of our public school students attend these schools. 
Students in rural America should have the same access to federal 
dollars and quality education as those students who attend schools in 
urban and suburban communities. For this reason, in 2001, I worked with 
former Senator Kent Conrad to author the law creating REAP, and I am 
now pleased to work with Senator Max Baucus on its reauthorization. 
REAP created two grant programs: the Small and Rural Schools 
Achievement program SRSA, which provides additional funding and 
flexibility to small rural school districts, and the Rural and Low-
Income School program, RLIS, which provides additional funding for poor 
rural school districts.
  Prior to enactment of this law, rural school districts received funds 
based on school enrollment. In many of these districts, Federal formula 
programs, which are population-based, do not produce enough resources 
to carry out important programs, which these grant programs help make 
possible. One school district in Maine, for example, received only $28 
in 2001 to fund a district-wide Safe and Drug-free school program.
  In addition, small and rural school districts often forgo Federal 
education dollars because they lack the personnel and the resources to 
apply for competitive grants. Having fewer personnel also creates 
additional challenges in providing professional development 
opportunities. By allowing rural school districts to combine funds, as 
well as providing additional funds, REAP gives these districts the 
levels of resources required to undertake significant educational 
reform. Funds from this program have already helped to support new 
technology in classrooms, distance learning opportunities, and 
professional development activities, as well as a vast array of other 
programs that will help rural districts.
  The REAP Reauthorization Act of 2013 would reauthorize and implement 
a few improvements to the law. These changes would allow Federal funds 
to be even more closely targeted to geographically isolated districts. 
One important reform would allow program eligible districts to 
participate in the Rural and Low-Income School program if they would 
not receive financial benefits from the Small and Rural Schools 
Achievement program.
  Education is an essential driver for good jobs for our citizens. This 
rings true especially in rural America, where schools are the linchpin 
of rural communities. I am pleased to have the support of the Maine 
School Management Association for the REAP Reauthorization Act of chair 
of the Senate Rural Education Caucus, I will continue to work toward 
our goal of advancing the educational interests of rural schools and 
districts.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a letter of support be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                      Maine School


                                       Management Association,

                                       Augusta, ME, June 24, 2013.
     Re Reauthorization of REAP

     Hon. Susan Collins,
     Dirksen Senate Office Building,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Collins, The Maine School Boards Association 
     and the Maine School Superintendents Association want to 
     thank you for your continued sponsorship of the REAP Program. 
     Specifically, our Associations are pleased to support the 
     2013 Reauthorization of REAP. Throughout the years, REAP 
     funding has helped to provide equity for many small schools 
     in Maine and our expectation is that will continue with this 
     Reauthorization.
       Both the National School Boards Association and the 
     American Association of School Administrators are also 
     supportive of the Reauthorization of REAP.

[[Page S5151]]

       The Maine School Boards Association and the Maine School 
     Superintendents Association appreciate your continued support 
     for public education. We want to commend you for your 
     willingness to pay attention to various legislative issues 
     that may impact Maine public schools. We also want to praise 
     your staff for their expertise and accessibility to our 
     organizations. As always, our Associations are available as a 
     resource to you and to your staff.
           Sincerely,
                                                   Cornelia Brown,
     Executive Director.

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