National Rural Education Association Official Podcast

S03E05 - Traversing Mountains to Teach Kids, Federal Funding Policy and Practice, an interview with Superintendent Jaime Green Trinity Alps Unified School District.

Episode Summary

In this episode, we interview Jaime Green, Superintendent of the Trinity Alps Unified School District in rural Northern California. The county is mostly federal lands. He has served as the superintendent for the past five years. Trinity Alps sends buses an hour to an hour and a half one way. The school traveled with the LA Times to Washington DC and was impressed by how caring legislators are to issues of education and kids. Superintendent Green then shifts the interview to discuss history. He discusses the Secure Schools Act, which provides funding gained from federal lands to help fund education under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt. Rosevelt, in partnership with the NREA (that’s right, the NREA) worked to provide 25% of the wealth gained from public lands to support schools. Currently, there is a huge disparity in funding between urban and rural funding. Following later policy changes regarding the use of federal lands, the government shifted to providing an allotment of funds to support rural education about ten years ago. Then ten years ago, the government suggested that education be weaned off federal lands and allotments. Further, for school districts with large amounts with large federal land, property taxes are not sustainable to fund education. Superintendent Green approached legislators about how to find solutions to these funding issues. One proposal was for strategic resource allocation, like selective resource use to fund schools (e.g., selective cut timber). Legislators shared with Superintendent Green that they were unaware of the history of the program. If the issue is not addressed, school districts will have limited resources, if any at all. Trinity Alps Unified School District is only receiving 1/4 of the funds allocated over 15 years ago. Therefore, there is an equity gap between rural and urban areas. Many rural schools need broadband and other resources. Further, loss of further funding could result in staff and teacher cuts. Superintendent Green suggests that investing in education is investing in our future by creating taxpayers, not tax consumers, by providing quality education and rural resource to build rural communities. If you are interested in reaching out to Superintendent Jaime Green at