November 5, 2008 CONTACT: Donald Dicklich, County Auditor
St. Louis County Courthouse
For Immediate Release: Duluth, MN 218-726-2380
Local School Districts to Benefit Significantly by County Board Action
St. Louis County and several local, rural school districts stand to gain additional United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service funds through recent legislation passed by Congress. At their Tuesday Board meeting, St. Louis County Commissioners approved a funding distribution formula under the new “Minnesota U.S. Forest Service Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act”, which reimburses local units of government for Forest Service lands which are located within their jurisdictions. Payments to St. Louis County and local, rural school districts will increase by roughly $500,000 per year for the next four years through 2012. The increase will be divided evenly between the County and eleven (11) local rural school districts, with the school systems dividing their share proportionally, based on U.S. Forest Service lands within their individual boundaries.
St. Louis County Board Chair Mike Forsman and First District Commissioner Dennis Fink, who has worked diligently with federal officials to acquire the additional funding, expressed extreme pleasure at receiving the additional dollars for the County, and to have the opportunity to share significant federal dollars with local school districts. Sixth District Commissioner Keith Nelson, Chair of the Board’s Finance & Budget Committee, said, “When an opportunity like this comes along, it’s important that we see the community as a whole. Although the increased funding is beneficial to County road projects, the real beneficiaries are our local rural school districts which will receive substantial dollars due to the County Board’s action taken on Tuesday.”
One such example is the Lake Superior School District which is scheduled to receive a 2008 payment of $8,366.93. The new distribution “Secure Rural School” option selected by the County Board will increase that payment to over $21,000. A significant increase is due for the Hibbing and Virginia school districts as well, which will see their payments increase by more than 250%.
# # #