A bipartisan Senate bill would add more than $10 billion to funds used to support public schools on federal land, including military installations, and those serving federally connected students.
MOAA supports the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act of 2022 (S. 3855) along with nearly two dozen other advocacy groups, including the National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families, and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The bill, introduced in March, boosts existing funds designed to offset a lack of local tax revenue for these schools, a program known as Impact Aid.
“Public school districts on federal land should have the same funding as other districts,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) who introduced the legislation alongside Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “Congress must provide more funding so students in these districts, including our children on military bases, no longer face disadvantages due to lack of resources.”
Crafted by Congress in 1950, Impact Aid supports more than 10 million students in more than 1,100 school districts with schools on federal or tribal land, according to a press release from Luján’s office. Other school districts can receive Impact Aid funding if they serve enough federally connected students – either 400 overall or 3% of the school’s daily attendance, according to the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools.
The program hasn’t been fully funded since 1969, and the average school district gets about 55% of the funds it should receive, per the association.
Luján called the shortfall “inexcusable,” and Gillibrand said the bill was part of her work to “ensure that students on federal lands aren’t left behind.”
The bill would increase three sections of Impact Aid through FY 2027, with the largest – covering heavily impacted schools – moving from more than $1.5 billion in FY 2023 to more than $2.3 billion in FY 2027.
A House version of the legislation (H.R. 5255) introduced in September with slightly different figures has 33 co-sponsors.
The funds are in addition to DoD Impact Aid, which is approved via separate legislation; the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included $50 million in DoD Impact Aid and an additional $10 million for areas serving a high concentration of military children with disabilities.
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