By Mystic Matthews
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Thanks the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act, several counties in our area are receiving some much needed money.
Houston County gets almost a million dollars, Trinity County gets $700,000, Angelina County gets nearly $300,000 and Nacogdoches is getting nearly $50,000.
Of all the money received, 85% of the money is dedicated by law to public roads and public education.
The counties decide where the other 15% goes.
For Houston and Trinity, the rest of the money is going to the Davy Crockett National Forest.
Here in Angelina, it will go to volunteer fire departments.
The Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act...The Importance of SRSCA
More than 9 million rural children attend public school districts which depend on funding from SRSCA.
It is estimated that 15,000 dedicated teachers and county employees either have or will be terminated if SRSCA funding is not restored.
In East Texas...
12 counties and 52 public school districts have lost more than 4.9 million dollars in federal funding.
SRSCA funding is extremely important to rural transportation. In Houston County, Sabine County and Trinity County, SRSCA funding makes up approximately 25 percent of the total county road and bridge budget.
SRSCA funding is extremely important to the rural school districts in East Texas. Hemphill ISD, a small school in Sabine County, has suffered a loss of $271,268 in annual funding.
Economically distressed counties and schools are among the hardest hit:
Median Household Income Persons Below Poverty Level Annual SRSCA Funding
San Augustine County $27,704 20.2 percent $372,917
Houston County $28,630 21.7 percent $986,963
Trinity County $28,757 18.1 percent $708,381
Sabine County $29,772 16.4 percent $921,878
Shelby County $29,802 18.3 percent $573,569
San Jacinto County $32,732 17.9 percent $326,181
Texas Average $41,645 16.2 percent
US Average $44,334 12.7percent
(Figures based on 2004 US Census Bureau Data)
SRSCA represents a 100-year-old commitment from the federal government to rural counties and schools. The four national forests in East Texas are comprised of 634,912 acres of federally owned land which was removed from the local tax rolls.