MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Many school districts across the country contain land within their boundaries that is owned by the Federal Government, or that has been removed from the local tax rolls by the Federal Government, including Native American lands. These school districts face the challenge of providing a quality education to children while sometimes operating with less revenue than other school districts because the federal property is exempt from local property taxes. The Federal Impact Aid Program can disburse payment to these areas.
“The mission of the Impact Aid Program is to disburse impact aid payments to local educational agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities,” said Thomas Cruz, school liaison, Marine Corps Family Services. “It is also able to provide technical assistance and support services to staff and other interested parties.”
According to Cruz, Congress has provided financial assistance to these local school districts through the Impact Aid Program since 1950. Impact Aid was designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to tax-exempt federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally-connected children, such as those living on Native American lands.
“The Impact Aid law provides assistance to local school districts with concentrations of children residing on Native American lands, military bases, low-rent housing properties, or other federal properties,” Cruz said.
Aboard the Combat Center, the Federal Impact Aid Program applies to Condor Elementary School. Students receive a federal survey card every year requesting information regarding their federal connection. To receive basic support payments, the school district must have at least 400 of their students, or three percent of their enrollment federally connected.
“These surveys are completed annually, and result in the federal government making payments to school districts such as the Morongo Unified School District,” said Paul Gattuso, principal, Condor Elementary School.
To receive the supplemental funding from the Department of Defense, the district must have 20 percent of their student population federally connected. The school district will only receive funding for completed surveys.
“With the distributed funding, schools are able to receive aid, furnishings, or even new classrooms,” Gattuso said. “The cooperation of parents in completing these surveys leads to a great financial assistance to the school district.”
For more information on the program, visit www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/impactaid/index.html