Assemblyman ERIC HOUGHTALING
District 11 (Monmouth)
Assemblywoman JOANN DOWNEY
District 11 (Monmouth)
Assemblyman PARKER SPACE
District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)
Urges federal government to increase appropriations for impact aid payments to eligible school districts.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution urging the federal government to increase appropriations for impact aid payments to eligible school districts.
Whereas, Having been established in 1950, the Impact Aid Program is the oldest existing program under which the federal government provides financial assistance to school districts; and
Whereas, Under the program, certain school districts in which federally-owned property is located receive a payment to offset the loss of property tax revenue that is caused by the presence of the federal property that is not subject to taxation; and
Whereas, School districts may also receive a payment when a significant number of federally-connected students are enrolled in the school district. Federally-connected students include, for example, children whose parents are members of the United States military; and
Whereas, Unlike many other forms of federal education aid, most Impact Aid is recorded as general fund revenue in school districts’ budgets, giving the local boards of education extensive discretion to determine how to use the funding to achieve the communities’ educational goals and objectives; and
Whereas, While the goals of the Impact Aid Program are laudable, appropriations for the program have significantly lagged behind the funding needs. In federal fiscal year 2006, funding for Impact Aid totaled $1.228 billion; by federal fiscal year 2016, this figure had increased to $1.289 billion. This represents an average annual increase of a mere 0.48 percent, which is far too low to keep pace with inflation and student enrollment increases; and
Whereas, By one estimate, the appropriations available to make Impact Aid payments related to the presence of federal property is only 11 percent of what would be needed to fully fund the program under the statutory aid calculation. Similarly, available funding for federally-connected children only supports 55 percent of the need; and
Whereas, Hundreds of school districts across the country either face diminished capacity to raise revenue locally because of the presence of federal property, or experience larger student enrollments as a result of federally-connected children. Additional burdens are imposed on these districts when funding for the Impact Aid Program is insufficient to meet the programs goals; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The President and the Congress of the United States are respectfully urged to enact legislation increasing the available appropriations for the Impact Aid Program to support school districts in which federal property is located or that educate a significant number of federally-connected students.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States, the Secretaries of the Departments of Education and Defense, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and each member of Congress elected from this State.
This resolution urges the federal government to increase funding for the Impact Aid Program. Under this program, school districts receive additional federal funding to offset the property tax revenue loss that results from the presence of federally-owned property and to support the costs of educating federally-connected students, such as children whose parents are in the military. While the program’s goals are laudable, it has been significantly underfunded, inhibiting affected school districts from providing the educational opportunities their students deserve.