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OCRE Urges Rural Schools to Use, Support QZABs

Organizations Concerned about Rural Education urges rural and small town community leaders to contact their state school officials about participating in the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program if they are not already doing so and to seek their fair share of the interest-free school modernization bonds.

OCRE also encourages community and education leaders to let their members of Congress know about their school rebuilding needs and to ask them to support the QZAB program. On the "Take Action" page, you will find a link to the Legislative Action Center of the National Education Association where you can easily communicate with the members of Congress from your district and state.

When Congress created QZABs, OCRE developed a program in cooperation with USDA's Rural Development Service to alert state officials, educators, and local community leaders about their availability. Workshops sponsored by OCRE's member organizations and USDA's field offices provided information about the QZAB program. Today, almost every state fully participates in the QZAB program.

The two principal sources of federal funding to meet rural and small town school building needs are QZABs and USDA's Community Facilities Program. QZABs are allocated to each state by the U.S. Treasury. The bonds can be used to modernize and equip school facilities or to fund other programs such as curriculum or technology development. Bond purchasers receive federal tax credits in lieu of interest on the bonds.

The U.S. Department of Education provides information about QZABs, the requirements of the legislation, and the state allocations on its website. To order copies of its publication, "Fixing Our Schools Now," write ED Pubs, Editorial Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education, Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398, e-mail to edpubs@inet.ed.gov or call 1-877-433-7827 or 1-800-872-5327.

Further information about USDA's Community Facilities Program is available from Rural Housing Service. State offices and their telephone numbers are listed on the website. The USDA information number is 202-720-1490.