Most military families with school-aged children are familiar with Impact Aid because of the forms they are asked to complete at the beginning of every school year. However, military families often hold misperceptions when it comes to Impact Aid. In addition, many do not know the difference between the U.S. Department of Education Impact Aid Program and the Department of Defense (DoD) Impact Aid Supplemental Program.
With over 90 percent of military children attending civilian schools, it is important for military families to know that the operating funds for most of these school districts are generated by state and local taxes. The presence of a federal military activity in a school district increases enrollment, yet it reduces the tax base by removing property from the tax rolls. School districts also lose personal tax revenues through the provisions granted the military member by the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and sales tax receipts when military families shop in commissaries and exchanges.
To compensate school districts for the loss of tax revenue due to the presence of a federal activity or federally connected students (military, Native Americans, and federal public housing), the U.S. Department of Education provides funding through the Impact Aid program. Approximately 40 percent of Impact Aid funds go to districts educating military children. Although Impact Aid provides vital operating funds for affected school districts, this funding is not enough to support the additional burden placed on school districts educating large numbers of military children.
To alleviate this additional burden, Congress includes funding in the DoD authorization and appropriations bills to help school districts with significant concentrations of military students deal with the consequences of an inadequate local funding base, challenges associated with base closures and realignments (BRAC), deteriorating facilities, and inadequate Impact Aid funding. The DoD Supplement to Impact Aid is divided among school districts in which military children make up at least 20 percent of the enrollment, the so-called "heavily-impacted" districts. This DoD Supplement to Impact Aid is necessary to provide military children with the level of educational opportunity available in neighboring, non-impacted school districts and in schools operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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