Collins Asks Feds To Reverse Funding Changes That Would Affect Rural Maine Schools

Feb 14, 2020

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is asking the federal government to reverse changes that have put more than $1 million in grants for rural Maine schools in jeopardy.

Collins sent a letter Thursday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing changes to the Department's Rural Education Achievement Program, which provides grants for services such as technology, mental health counselors and physical education teachers in small and rural schools.

Maine Public reported earlier this week that the federal DOE planned to eliminate flexibility in how it has allowed the state to calculate poverty levels for districts. The state warns that the changes could make more than 100 districts ineligible for one grant program and could lead Maine schools to lose about $1.2 million.

In her letter, Collins, who co-authored the Rural Education Achievement Program in 2002, calls on the department to immediately reverse the change, saying that the decisions, "run counter to the purpose of the law and undermine the effectiveness of these programs."

The Maine Department of Education says it has reached out to every district in the state affected by the changes.