Should I Fill Out the Impact Aid Form for My Military Child’s School?

Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 08:09 AM Dawn M. Smith Military Life

Untitled_design_13.jpgMilitary families often wonder if completeing the Impact Aid form for their children's school is important.

The answer is yes.

Here’s why: Local taxes.

Federal land, such as military bases, is exempt from these taxes. In addition, the schools on and off base are financially impacted by the addition of federally related kids. So, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Education kick in money to try and compensate for the lack of local funding from taxes at eligible Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

Although the money is not appropriated only and exactly for military children, the benefits of Impact Aid far outweigh the absence of federal dollars. These funds are given without restriction as to which programs or items are purchased. Typical expenses paid for might include teacher salaries, utilities, and transportation costs.

Their roles are similar, but the DoD and DE funding are slightly different.  The DOD explains it best:

“Whereas the Department of Education Impact Aid Program provides funding to compensate for all federal tax-exempt property, such as Indian lands, national parks, DoD installations and public housing, the DoD Impact Aid Program for Military Connected School Districts serves only military-connected LEAs. DoD Impact Aid is not a DoD funded or requested program, but rather an annual Congressional appropriation. As with the U.S. Department of Education Impact Aid Program, the DoD Impact Aid payments may be used by the LEA without restriction.”

The description goes on to explain that the ED gives the pertinent data to the DoD to apply to the programs. 

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The Components of DoD Impact Aid

Supplemental Program

In 2016, $30 million was appropriated to LEAs with at least 20% average daily attendance of military dependent students from the preceding year. 

Children with Severe Disabilities Program

In 2016, $5 million was applied to this program.

Large Scale Rebasing (BRAC) Program

In 2016, zero dollars were applied. 

ED Has Its Own Set of Components Regarding Funding

Payments for Federal Property                    

Payments help offset local tax losses school districts face because of federal ownership of property.

Basic Support Payments

Schools who receive this type of payment educate federally connected kids. Military kids, children on Indian lands, and those living on federal or federally subsidized land are eligible.

Children With Disabilities Payments

This money is paid directly to schools to provide assistance for children who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

Construction Grants

New schools and repairs of the schools are funded with this money. The eligible schools educate children of the uniformed services and kids living on Indian land.

As you sift through the mountains of paperwork each new school year brings, look for this very important form. The additional funding is not “extra,” it is a very vital and important to school budgets.

School districts depend on Impact Aid to supply children with the quality instruction they need.

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