Impact Aid is vital to our public schools

  • Published
  • By Gerald Cross
  • 81st Force Support Squadron
Our area public schools will be sending home Federal Impact Aid cards with our military children this month. It is important to fill out cards and return to the schools in a timely manner.

The Impact Aid program was passed into law by Congress in 1950. It's designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax exempt federal property or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally-connected children.

School taxes come from two sources: taxation on property of private individuals such as homes, autos, boats, and other personal property and taxation of real or personal property used for business purposes.

A large federal installation, while adding a great deal to the economic growth of a state, has a tremendous impact on a local community. This means that a great deal of property and activity is removed from the local tax rolls that support public education.

Impact Aid was last fully funded in 1970. Since then, it's taken drastic cuts and is currently funded at only 60 percent nationally, as defined by law. In 2011, Mississippi was appropriated $9.4 million in Impact Aid, but received only $1.5 million. In order for a school district to receive Impact Aid, it must have 400 federal students in its average daily attendance, or at least 3 percent of all children in the district must be federally connected.
Payments to the school districts are always in arrears, usually two to three years behind, and come in multiple payments throughout the year. The payments go directly into school district accounts by electronic fund transfer. These funds go into the general fund of a school district and may be used in whatever manner the district chooses in accordance with local and state requirements.

For more information, call the Keesler school liaison, 228-376-8728.