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In a Monday morning news release, Montana Senator Max Baucus is helping to renew the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP), which provides about $5 million each year that 420 Montana schools rely on to keep teachers on the job. The REAP program is included in the major education bill Congress will debate this year, bringing it one step closer to being signed into law.  

Baucus met recently with Executive Director of Montana School Administrators Kirk Miller and Superintendents from Centerville and East Helena this week to discuss the REAP and other priorities for Montana schools as the education bill moves forward.

“REAP is very important to our district. If we didn’t have REAP funding we would probably lose two of our title aids that we employ at the school to work with our kids in one on one situations. We rely on the REAP money we get each year and we need it as a part of our budget. So it is very important to our district and our kids,” said Centerville Schools Superintendent Dennis Gerke.

Dennis Gerke

“REAP is an employment factor for schools across the state of Montana, said  Executive Director of School Administrators of Montana Kirk Miller. "The REAP money has been there for a long enough period of time that most schools are employing people as a result of that money and those people are delivering direct services to children, which is what this is all about. So REAP is very vital to Montana and we appreciate Senator Baucus and his co-sponsorship of the reauthorization of REAP funds."

Executive Director of School Administrators of Montana Kirk Miller

The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) provides funds specifically for rural schools whose needs often aren’t met by typical grant funds.  REAP also gives rural schools maximum flexibility to use funds in the way that works best for them.

About 420 Montana schools rely on REAP funds, for a total of about $5 million each year.

The REAP program is currently expired.  Senator Baucus helped to make sure the REAP program is renewed in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that passed out of the Senate Education Committee earlier this summer. That bill is expected to be debated in the Senate floor later this year.