Monday March 14, 2011 | 05:19 PM

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, today unveiled a bill designed to better focus federal education spending on rural school districts.

Collins co-authored the bill with Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota. It revamps a 1999 piece of legislation that Collins and Conrad crafted that created the Rural Education Achievement Program. The initiative is meant to "provide rural school districts with the necessary resources to support technology upgrades, teacher training, and other activities," according to Collins' office.

Collins says the update is meant to better target federal funding to rural districts in need of more resources.

"REAP is the only dedicated federal funding stream to aid rural school districts," Collins said in a statement.  "Our legislation would address the unique needs of these schools by providing additional funding and flexibility to help ensure that students in rural areas have the same access to federal dollars and a good education as students who attend schools in urban and suburban communities."  

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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