MIL-OSI USA: Rep. Mike Levin Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Support Schools Serving Military-Connected and Native American Students

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Mike Levin (CA-49)

September 15, 2021

Legislation Provides Funding for Schools like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Elementary

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act to fully fund the federal Impact Aid program, which supports K-12 public schools on federal land like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Elementary. The bipartisan bill creates a five-year plan to fund Impact Aid with $1.1 billion. A fact sheet on the bill is available here.

Federal land—such as military installations, Indian treaty, trust or Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act land, and federal properties and facilities—are tax exempt. Most public school districts rely on local taxes and fees for funding. Thus, public school districts containing federal property have significantly less tax revenue to meet school districts’ needs.

In 1950, Congress created Impact Aid to provide federal support for public school districts where federal activity has reduced the available tax base. Impact Aid provides payments in lieu of taxes for schools to use for instructional materials, technology, staffing, and other educational needs. Impact Aid supports more than 1,100 school districts and over 10 million students. Despite national dependency, Congress has not fully funded Impact Aid since 1969. Impact Aid is also the only K-12 federal education program that is not forward funded, so any delay in appropriations inhibits schools from covering day-to-day operations.

“It’s critically important that every school has the resources it needs to provide students with a high-quality education, but many schools on federal land struggle to meet that need without the state and local tax revenue of a traditional public school,” said Rep. Levin. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure that all federally impacted schools have reliable funding to serve their students. With this bipartisan bill, we can fulfill our responsibility to provide adequate funding and high-quality education for students at schools like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Elementary.”

“I have been a long-time supporter of federal Impact Aid, and as a former teacher, I know just how important it is to meet the needs of our children,” said Rep. Young. “Students in Alaska, particularly Alaska Natives, rely on Impact Aid for books, technology, staffing, and other needs. Unfortunately, Impact Aid is the only K-12 federal education program that is not forward-funded.  If we do not get this program on stable footing, or children could be worse off. I am proud to introduce the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act with Congressman Mike Levin to fully fund this vital program over the next five years. Our bill takes needed action to support our schools, increase funding for children with disabilities, and ensure that our military families have the resources necessary to thrive in school. Countless school districts operate on federally tax-exempt land; without Impact Aid to fill the funding gaps, the next generation’s educational success is in jeopardy. For these schools and the students they support, I call on colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our legislation.”

“The Impact Aid Full Funding Act is critical to the continued successful operations of the Oceanside Unified School District,” said Oceanside Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale. “We use this funding for various expenditures including programs for students, staffing assignments such as counselors, and the maintenance of our facilities. Full funding ensures we provide the most robust academic offerings for our students as well as safe and beautiful schools.” 

“A much needed and long overdue increase to Impact Aid funding would provide the resources needed to fully support the more than 1,600 military impacted students of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District,” said Fallbrook Union Elementary School District Dr. Candace Singh. “This legislation finally delivers on the government’s promise to support public schools in their efforts to ensure military connected families have the resources they need.”

“Impact Aid is a critical funding source for school districts throughout the country that are impacted by federally owned land, such as military installations, Indian Trust, Treaty and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act lands, Federal low-rent housing, national parks, and other Federal buildings and property. Congress has not met its funding obligation for Impact Aid in over 50 years, leaving federally impacted school districts and the students they educate underfunded,” said NAFIS Executive Director Hilary Goldmann. “This important legislation gets closer to fulfilling Congress’s responsibility to these school districts. NAFIS thanks Representatives Levin and Young for their leadership and support for federally impacted school districts and the students they serve.”

The Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act introduces a five-year plan to fund Impact Aid and would:

  • Split Impact Aid’s $1.1 billion request evenly over five years, across three main categories for funding: Basic Support, Federal Property, and Children with Disabilities.
  • Increase Basic Support funding by $190 million annually, meeting Impact Aid’s 2019 funding requests.
  • Increase Federal Property funding proportionally to Basic Support by allocating an additional $11 million annually.
  • Increase funding for Children with Disabilities by $9 million annually, funding $2,000 per eligible student.
  • Advance national K-12 school systems to become more equitable and meet educational needs.
  • Support military families and Native American communities that are especially impacted by federally tax-exempt land.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), National Education Association (NEA), Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Service Women’s Action Network, National Military Family Association, Fleet Reserve Association, The Enlisted Association (TREA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Rebuild America’s Schools, EDGE Consulting Partners, AASA The School Superintendents Association, American Federation of School Administrators, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Math and Science Initiative, National Disability Rights Network, Council of Administrators of Special Education, San Diego Unified School District, National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium, Mid-to-Low LOT Schools, the National Indian Education Association, Federal Lands Impacted Schools Association, Military Impacted Schools Association, and the National Indian Impacted Schools Association.

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