The majority of school age military-connected students attend public schools operated by school districts or local education agencies, or LEAs. It’s important to understand how your service to your country financially impacts your child’s school district. Here are a few simple ways you can support your child’s education opportunities at each installation.
What is the Impact Aid Program?
The Impact Aid Program provides the financial support to compensate school districts with concentrations of children residing on military installations or other federal properties and, to a lesser extent, concentrations of children who have parents in the uniformed serves or employed on federal properties who do not live on military installations.
You can help your child’s school by completing the Parent-Pupil Survey so that the Department of Education can provide the proper aid to assist schools.
How Impact Aid is Determined
The Department of Education is required to collect specific information from LEAs to determine the number of federally-connected children the district serves. LEAs can use one or both of the following methods to collect information to determine the level of financial aid:
- Parent-Pupil Survey: The form requires parents or guardians to provide student information, such as name, birthdate and school, as well as residence and parent employment information, including but not limited to student address if on military installation, name of the military installation on which a parent is employed and name, rank and branch of service of a parent who is a member of the uniformed services on active duty. The form must be signed and dated by the parent or guardian providing the information. All required information must be provided or the student will not be counted as federally connected.
- Source Check: LEAs may count the enrollment of federally-connected students by using a source check to substantiate a student’s place of residence or parent’s place of employment on the survey date. A source check is a form provided to the employer, such as an installation official, who identifies the place of employment of the parent of the student claimed. The form may also be submitted to a housing official who indicates the residence of each student on the survey date.
Importance of Impact Aid to school districts
Public school districts are funded in large part by local revenue. This revenue is primarily a combination of local property taxes on homes and businesses and other local fees. School districts serving military installations are at a fiscal disadvantage because the federal government is exempt from paying taxes on the property it owns.
The presence of federally-owned property impacts school districts in two main ways. First, it reduces the local tax revenue that can be generated for school purposes. Second, projects and activities related to that property can cause an influx of people into a community, increasing the number of children to be educated without an equal increase in the local tax base. Congress created the Impact Aid Program to ensure federally-connected school districts, and the students and taxpayers in their communities, are not at a financial — and educational — disadvantage.
The Department of Defense Impact Aid Program is a supplement to the Federal Impact Aid Program which provides assistance to LEAs with specific concentrations of military-dependent children. There are two ways additional funds can be awarded to school districts:
- DOD Impact Aid Supplemental provides financial assistance to LEAs that are heavily impacted by the presence of military-connected students. LEAs that had at least 19.5% military-connected students in average daily attendance in the preceding year, as counted on their Federal Impact Aid application, are eligible to receive payment from this program. The DOD Impact Aid Supplemental includes the dependent children of active-duty military members and civilian employees of the DOD.
- DOD Impact Aid for Children with Severe Disabilities, or CWSD, provides financial assistance to LEAs with at least two military-connected children with severe disabilities that meet certain special education cost criteria through an application process. DOD Impact Aid for CWSD includes the dependent children of active-duty military members but does not include dependent children of civilian employees of the DOD.
Importance of returning the Impact Aid Survey
The collection of student data for the purpose of Impact Aid is critically important to school districts. Each survey is significant to the school district because it can impact the amount of funding they receive. The funding goes into a district’s general fund to pay for operating expenses, such as curriculum, teacher salaries, technology and facility improvements — the same way local taxes fund these expenses.
Military families have a shared responsibility to support the communities in which they live. Impact Aid for schools is one small way a military family can help.
If you’d like to learn more about how Impact Aid Surveys are processed in your community or what you can do to help, contact your local school liaison.