Today, U.S. Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK.), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced legislation to authorize increased funding for Impact Aid programs for federally-impacted public school districts which have significantly less tax revenue due to the presence of nontaxable federal property. Oklahoma has more school districts receiving Impact Aid than any other state in the nation.
“Oklahoma K-12 schools often face unique budgetary challenges due to the presence of vast tax-exempt federal property, including large military installations and Indian territory,” said Senator Mullin. “Our bipartisan bill, the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act will provide our schools with the resources they need to make up this lost revenue and provide the best education for our children.”
“The federal government has an obligation to fully support public schools on or near federal and Tribal lands and ensure they can deliver a high-quality education to federally-impacted students,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation that will increase funding for Impact Aid across the country. This additional funding will help ensure that federally impacted school districts in New Mexico – which serve large numbers of Native American and military-connected students – have the resources they need to offer the best education possible to our children.”
“Public school districts on federal land should have the same funding as other districts,” said Senator Tillis. “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. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation to fully fund Impact Aid to level the playfield.”
“Texas school districts serve one of the largest populations of military-connected students in the nation, and districts on federal land often lose out on tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue necessary to provide a quality education for their students,” said Senator Cornyn. “Our bill would create a five-year plan to provide support for school districts in lieu of this tax revenue, and it is imperative that schools have the resources they need to help students reach their potential.”
“Every child deserves access to a high-quality education,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Yet too many federally impacted schools lack the funding to invest in their students, teachers, and infrastructure without the state and local tax revenue of a traditional public school. I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to advance this bipartisan legislation to ensure that federally impacted students aren’t left behind.”
“It’s a fact: School districts need adequate resources to serve and teach the students in their classrooms,” said Senator Durbin. “So when school districts lose out on precious dollars because of tax-exempt federal properties in their area, the federal government should step in to offset that deficiency. I’m support the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act to ensure that federal lands don’t cause school districts to miss out on valuable resources and funding.”
Background: In 1950, Congress created Impact Aid to recognize the federal government’s responsibility to help finance public education in areas where it holds tax-exempt land. Impact Aid provides payments—in lieu of taxes—for school districts serving military families, Native Americans living on Tribal lands, families working on national parks and forests, students who live in low-rent public housing, and students with disabilities. Nationwide, Impact Aid supports more than 1,100 school districts and over 10 million students. Despite national importance, Impact Aid has been underfunded for over 50 years.
The Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act will increase authorized funding for four Impact Aid programs and raises Impact Aid Basic Support Payments and Federal Property Payments closer to full funding. This bipartisan legislation also increases funding for Children with Disabilities Payments and Construction Payments to better meet the needs of federally-impacted schools and children.
This legislation is endorsed by 25 organizations: Oklahoma Association Serving Impacted Schools (OASIS), National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), National Indian Impacted Schools Association (NIISA), Military Impacted Schools Association, Federal Lands Impacted Schools Association (FLISA), Mid-to-Low LOT Schools, National Indian Education Association (NIEA), National Military Family Association, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Blue Star Families (BSF), TREA: The Enlisted Association, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Fleet Reserve Association, Rebuild America’s Schools, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), AASA The School Superintendents Association, American Federation of School Administrators, National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium, National Rural Education Association, Council of Administrators of Special Education, National Disability Rights Network, National Math and Science Initiative, and Organizations Concerned About Rural Education (OCRE).