March 15, 2023

Rep. Mike Levin Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Support Schools Serving Military-Connected and Native American Students

Legislation Provides Full Funding for the Impact Aid Program Which Serves Schools like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary

Oceanside, CA – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) announced the reintroduction of the bipartisan Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act, HR 1591, to fully fund the federal Impact Aid program. This bill supports K-12 public schools on federal land like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary.

Federal lands—such as military installations, armed services personnel, or Indian treaty land, and federal properties and facilities—are tax exempt. Most public-school districts rely on local taxes and fees for funding. Thus, public school districts containing federal property have significantly less tax revenue to meet school districts’ needs.

In 1950, Congress created the Impact Aid program to provide federal support for public school districts where federal activity has reduced the available tax base. Impact Aid provides payments in lieu of taxes for schools to use for instructional materials, technology, staffing, and other educational needs. Impact Aid supports more than 1,200 school districts and over 11 million students. Despite national dependency, Congress has not fully funded Impact Aid since 1969.

“It’s critically important that every school has the resources it needs to provide students with a high-quality education, but many schools on federal land struggle to meet that need without the state and local tax revenue of a traditional public school,” said Rep. Levin. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure that all federally impacted schools have reliable funding to serve their students. With this bipartisan bill, we can fulfill our responsibility to provide adequate funding and high-quality education for students at schools like San Onofre Elementary and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary.”

“Currently, 240 schools located on military installations and Native lands in Oklahoma rely on Impact Aid for funding, the most in the nation,” said Rep. Cole. “Because my father was in the military, I personally benefited from this program when I was a child, and I still believe in its importance. We have many children and families in Oklahoma who rely on these funds for an education, and we must ensure that teachers and administrators serving Impact Aid schools have the resources they need. I am proud to co-lead the reintroduction of this important bill that would authorize this critical funding through fiscal year 2029.”

 “The Advancing Towards Impact Aid Full Funding Act is a crucial step in ensuring that our military-connected students receive the resources they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said Oceanside Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale.

 “Impact Aid plays a critical role in ensuring students in federally impacted school districts have access to the same quality education as their peers across the nation. The program allows school districts containing nontaxable federal property – including military installations, Indian Trust, Treaty and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act lands, federal low-rent housing, federal dams and reservoirs, and other federal property – to target funds at instructional materials, teacher staffing, construction, school-based mental health services or any other need identified in their local community,” said NAFIS Executive Director Nicole Russell. “However, the program has not been fully funded in more than 50 years. This important legislation gets closer to fulfilling Congress’s responsibility to federally impacted school districts. NAFIS thanks Representatives Levin and Cole for their leadership and support for these school districts and the students they serve.”

The Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act introduces a five-year plan to fund Impact Aid. Specifically, it would:

  • Increase Basic Support funding by approximately $164 million annually to reach the projected FY2029 full funding amount.
  • Increase Federal Property funding by allocating an additional $12 million annually.
  • Increase funding for Children with Disabilities by $12 million annually.
  • Increase construction funding to reach $45 million in fiscal year 2029, to bring funding back in line with fiscal year 2004-2005 appropriations.
  • Advance national K-12 school systems to become more equitable and meet educational needs.
  • Support military families and Native American communities that are especially impacted by federally tax-exempt land.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), National Education Association (NEA), National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), National Indian Impacted Schools Association, National School Boards Association, Mid-to-Low Lot Schools, Federal Lands Impacted Schools Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, Organizations Concerned about Rural Education, Rebuild America’s Schools, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Council of Administrators of Special Education, Association of School Business Officials International, and the San Diego Unified School District.