What’s the Big Deal About Impact Aid?

kids in a classroom

When your military kid comes home with the Parent Pupil Survey this year it might be easy for the voluntary information card to get lost in piles of paperwork. After all, it isn’t mandatory, so what’s the big deal?

That piece of paper collects vital demographic information used in securing federal impact aid, a type of school funding, at districts all across the country. It is a big deal!

Schools typically rely on property tax revenue to educate students. School districts can lose that money due to the presence of a tax-exempt federal property nearby since the children of those employees aren’t paying property taxes.

That’s where impact aid comes in. The government uses the number of federally connected students at a district to determine how much money Uncle Sam sends over to educate children of federal employees whose parents live on federal land (like a military installation).

Districts can use the funding to hire more teachers, pay for curriculum and after-school enrichment programs and even cover the cost of new or improved facilities.

“It’s really important to make sure school districts aren’t at a financial disadvantage and to make sure students in the district are getting the quality education in a safe environment,” says Jocelyn Bissonnette, National Association of Federally Impacted Schools director of government affairs.

The association represents federally connected students and affected school districts.

While some schools will offer incentives, like a pizza party, to get survey cards returned, she says not all do. 

“This is an important funding stream and it’s important for families to complete that information to make sure their local public schools get the funding they deserve.”

So even without cheesy pizza involved, it’s still important for parents to get the information back in a timely manner. Each card that gets returned means more federal dollars that go to your military kid’s school.

Do you have more questions about impact aid? Tell us in the comments.

Posted August 16, 2016

Comments

From: NMFA on: November 22, 2016
David, we are so sorry your family is experiencing this. We do encourage families to return the Impact Aid form since the funding is so important to schools. However, it is not mandatory and families can certainly choose not to turn it in. Schools should never pressure families or punish a student who hasn't returned their form. We suggest you contact your installation School Liaison Officer (SLO) and let them know about your situation.
From: David on: November 22, 2016
My 9th grade daughter is being punished at school because she has not turned in the form. Even after it was given to the students within 5 days of the deadline. This states the survey is not mandatory so which is it? Mandatory or not?
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