December 14, 2020

Weekly Column: Impact Aid: 70 Years Of Delivering Resources To Federally Impacted School Districts

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Impact Aid is a crucial program that provides needed funding to school districts in Idaho.  The Senate unanimously passed S.Res. 775, a bipartisan resolution I led with fellow Senate Impact Aid Coalition Co-Chair, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), that recognizes the program’s 70 years of delivering resources to federally impacted school districts to provide high-quality education and access to opportunities children need to reach their full potential. 

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides the following description of the program: “Impact Aid compensates local educational agencies (LEAs) for a ‘substantial and continuing financial burden’ resulting from federal activities.  These activities include federal ownership of certain lands, as well as the enrollments in LEAs of children whose parents work or live on federal property and children living on Indian lands.  The federal government provides compensation because LEAs are unable to collect property or other taxes from these individuals (e.g., members of the uniformed services living on military bases) or their employers, even though the LEAs are obligated to provide free public education to their children.  Thus, Impact Aid is intended to compensate LEAs, in part, for the resulting loss of tax revenue.” 

In 1950, President Harry Truman signed the Impact Aid program into law.  The U.S. Department of Education administers Impact Aid, which is dispersed directly to local educational agencies.  A total of 30 senators from both sides of the aisle, including fellow Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), co-sponsored the resolution.  In the resolution, we included the following statistics illustrating the reach of Impact Aid:

  • In 2020, nearly 880,000 children, including children of individuals in the uniformed services, children residing on Indian lands, children in low-rent public housing, and children of civilians working or living on federal land are served by local educational agencies eligible for basic support payments under the Impact Aid program;

 

  • There are 4,800,000 acres of federally owned land within the boundaries of local educational agencies for which those local educational agencies are eligible to receive federal property payments under the Impact Aid program; and

 

  • In fiscal year 2020, $1,486,112,000 will be provided under the Impact Aid program to more than 1,100 local educational agencies that together enroll more than 10,000,000 students.

 

The full text of the resolution can be read on my official website, at https://www.crapo.senate.gov.

It is vital to ensure schools have the resources necessary to provide a positive learning environment for all students.  Importantly, the Senate’s passage of S.Res. 775 makes the unanimous statement that the Senate recognizes the importance of the objective of Impact Aid in ensuring all children educated in federally impacted school districts receive a high-quality education and have access to the opportunities they need to reach their full potential.  This is an important reiteration in promoting strong, educational opportunities for all students, and I look forward to the continued success of Idaho schools and students backed through this program. 

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