Should Congress Make It Easier for School Districts to Apply for Impact Aid Program Funding? (S. 2959)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is S. 2959?
(Updated February 25, 2022)
This bill was enacted on January 21, 2022
This bill — known as the Supplemental Impact Aid Flexibility Act — would revise the Impact Aid Program application process for local educational agencies (LEAs) in FY2023. Specifically, it would allow LEAs in the program to use the student count or federal property valuation data from their FY2022 applications, as applicable, for their FY2023 applications to ensure that the school districts don’t need to recalculate their headcount of federally connected students amid the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Impact Aid Program provides funding to LEAs that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property or to those that have experienced increased expenditures due to enrollment of federally connected children (e.g. children living on Indian lands or military bases).
Argument in favor
The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for school districts around the country and this bill would make it easier for them to apply for the Impact Aid Program, which reimburses districts located on federal property or for their students who live on tax-exempt federal land because they collect less in local property taxes to fund schools.
While it may make the application process more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress should decline to amend the Impact Aid Program application process and allow school districts to use student headcounts and federal property valuation data from the prior year in their application for the upcoming fiscal year.
Local educational agencies; families and students in school districts participating in the Impact Aid Program; and the Dept. of Education.
Cost of S. 2959
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced this bill to make it easier for school districts to apply for the Impact Aid Program amid the ongoing uncertainty in student enrollment created by the COVID-19 pandemic:
“In order to support the South Dakota school districts that participate in the Impact Aid Program, it’s imperative that we again provide them with the ability to use previously reported student headcounts on their Impact Aid applications that they will complete this fall. Not only would this free up time and resources that can be directed to their students, it would also protect school districts from future Impact Aid funding reductions due to temporary enrollment declines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Lead Democratic cosponsor Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) added:
“The pandemic continues to hit many Minnesota school districts hard, and for those districts that receive Impact Aid, it’s important that they maintain reliable, stable funding. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that while the pandemic continues to affect school operations, our Impact Aid districts won’t have to recalculate their student headcounts.”
This legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent and has the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including Smith and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). A related bill for the prior fiscal year was signed into law on December 4, 2020.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / littleny)
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