Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tell Congress: Time Has Run Out! Act Now to Save Rural Schools

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act , which provides guaranteed funding to rural, timber-dependent counties, has expired. Congress must act immediately to pass a reauthorization or an extension of the program. Failure to act now will be devastating for rural counties across the country. In fact, impacted counties have already sent out layoff notices to school staff and other public service employees.

Congress needs to pass an extension or reauthorization as part of any moving supplemental funding bill or economic stimulus package. If they don’t:

More than 4,400 rural schools in 800 forest counties in 42 states will face severe budget shortfalls.

Many rural schools in forest counties will cut back or eliminate essential educational services – some may even be forced to shut down.

Tens of thousands of county and school employees will lose their jobs, straining the already fragile economies of these rural areas to the breaking point.

Contact your representatives in Congress TODAY!

Tell Congress to act now to save rural schools.

You Made a Difference: Victories on Health Care! With your help, NEA has scored two important victories on health care:

Medicaid for Students with Special Needs: In June, President Bush signed a bill that includes an NEA-supported delay of scheduled Medicaid reimbursement cuts for school-based, transportation, and/or rehabilitation services. This hard-fought victory allows students with medical needs to keep getting the school-based services they need.

Medicare: This week, the House and Senate voted to override the President’s veto of the NEA-supported Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6331). The bill will result in much improved access to affordable, high quality medical care and pharmaceutical services for Medicare beneficiaries in rural and urban areas. In particular, the bill delays a scheduled cut in doctor fees that would have likely caused many doctors to refuse to treat Medicare patients.