2024 Legislative Priorities

With equitable and sustainable funding, increased and aligned resources and the elimination of burdensome grant requirements, rural schools can provide amazing opportunities for their students.

During the 2024 Legislative Session, the Rural Alliance:

  • Supports the full buy-down of the Budget Stabilization Factor.
  • Supports the continuation of Rural funding through a formula change or additional funding to address inequities created by the high cost of doing business in rural schools.Due to economic and geographic realities, rural schools experience a significantly higher cost of doing business than urban and suburban districts, making it more challenging for rural schools to maintain facilities, comply with ever-changing state policy requirements, recruit and retain experienced educators, and develop/expand educational and wellness programming.
  • Opposes the use of grant dollars to fund essential programs and positions.The limited funding available to support implementation of new state programs and policies is distributed through competitive grants with cumbersome and resource-intensive application and compliance processes.
  • Urges the State to eliminate grant complex application, reporting, and monitoring processes.
  • Supports the alignment of existing grant programs for ease of access for schools and other community providers.
  • Supports additional, sustainable revenue for:
      • School Construction through the BEST Program.  Rural schools rely on the BEST program to support school construction/renovation because they cannot generate sufficient revenue through local mill levies for this purpose.  The following action is necessary to increase the capacity of the program to address the great need around the State:
          • Expanding the current cap on Certificates of Participation.
          • Convening a study group to consider additional revenue streams to support school renovation/expansion.
          • Rural Workforce Development. Rural school districts are typically unable to offer high school students the same selection of high-quality college and career pathways available in larger districts. Challenges include lack of funding for planning and management of pathways, scarcity of specialized teaching staff and cost of equipment. Additionally, unlike many urban and suburban districts, rural schools cannot generate local revenue to support these programs.
          • Behavioral Health System of Care for children and adults. Rural communities need funding and other resources to build local/regional capacity to build local workforce and build infrastructure necessary to provide a continuum of care and supports.
          • Recruitment and Retention of Educators. Rural schools need sustainable funding to support salary increases and other benefits and resources for educators. 

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