"Serving areas more sparsely populated, with smaller tax bases, and often poorer than urban or suburban districts, rural districts must conduct all the work of educating their students, implementing new initiatives and complying with state and federal policies that other districts must, but with fewer resources," Howley writes. "Rural district budgets are often further constrained by the high cost of transporting students across long distances. Stressed budgets in turn affect the number of staff that districts can hire and the number of higher-level courses they can offer."
The budget includes several programs that are designed to help rural areas, but instead do little to address the concerns of rural schools, such as post-secondary programs, when some rural students might not be going to college, or required programs that reward money based on number of students, which could hurt a rural school that has to hire a teacher for one class with a small amount of students, while receiving little money for the program, Howley writes. "With limited resources and overworked staff, it’s practically a miracle that rural schools and districts accomplish what they do." (Read more)