Federal Funding Cuts Delayed, Sparing Rural Montana Schools for the Time Being

Federal Funding Cuts Delayed, Sparing Rural Montana Schools for the Time Being

March 5, 2020

As reported in the Montana Standard, “cuts to a program that provides funding to rural schools serving students from low-income families will be delayed after mounting criticism.” Previously, the U.S. Department of Education had proposed changes to the Rural Low-Income Schools program’s eligibility requirements. A letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from 22 senators, including Montana Senators Jon Tester (R) and Steve Daines (D), argued “that the department should abandon a switch to using census data from free and reduced lunch information.” According to the Department, the changes are necessary “to meet legal requirements” under ESSA, but the senators questioned the timing of the move. The Department says the delay does not rescind the agency’s position, but is “effectively a one-year waiver” to give states flexibility.