USDA Rural Development State Director Randy Parker today announced that in Fiscal Year 2017 USDA invested $29,550,000 in charter schools in rural Utah.
“Opportunities for education should be plentiful in both rural and urban areas,” said Parker, “Investments such as these announced today can help schools gain security, financial independence, and free up more of their budgets to support students and staff.”
The funding is provided through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program, which is intended for projects such as schools, libraries, municipal centers, first responder vehicles and equipment, social service buildings, recreational activities and other community needs.
Projects in Utah include loans to five public charter schools serving primarily rural students:
Valley Academy in Hurricane, Utah received a $6.9 million loan to purchase the school’s building, providing a sense of permanence to the school and its students as well as improving their financial position.
Soldier Hollow Charter School in Charleston, Utah, received a $3 million loan to secure a new building which will allow the school to expand and be prepared for growth. The new building is located nearby the school’s former location and was originally intended as an equestrian center. It has been redesigned to accommodate the school’s needs.
Excelsior Academy in Erda, Utah, received $9.95 million to construct a junior high building adjacent to their current building, which will increase their capacity.
Utah Charter Academies received a $5 million loan to purchase a school in Salem, Utah, which was facing discontinuation. The purchase provided security to nearly 500 students.
Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Utah, received a $4.7 million loan to expand their existing campus, providing continuity for students who would like to remain at the school for grades seven through nine. Currently, upper grades are attending classes in portable rooms.
Today’s statement is made in conjunction with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that USDA invested in nearly 400 projects nationwide, including Utah, to provide essential services for more than 7 million people across the country in Fiscal Year 2017.
To build stronger, thriving rural communities, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in April 2017 to identify how federal regulations impact agriculture and rural communities. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was selected to chair the group, which includes 22 federal agencies as well as local leaders. Member of the task force travelled across the country, holding listening sessions and gathering recommendations from the people living and working in rural America. Earlier this month Secretary Perdue presented the task force’s findings to President Trump. They include more than 100 recommendations for the federal government to consider to restore rural prosperity.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.