IN SUPPORT OF THE FAIR FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 18, 2007)
HON. LEE TERRY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2007
* Mr. TERRY. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Fair Funding for Schools Act, a law designed to build upon the important strides for local school districts that have been taken over the past 57 years by the Impact Aid program.
* Because people living on Federal property do not pay local property taxes, often do not pay State income taxes, and have the ability to shop for groceries and other necessities at a base PX that does not charge sales tax, local school districts are left without a funding source they otherwise would have. The Impact Aid Program is designed to replace the lost tax revenue that local school districts depend on to provide a free pubic education to the communities they serve. Impact Aid has provided nearly $25 million dollars in funding for schools throughout my district, and over $1.2 billion for the more than 1,400 school districts currently receiving Impact Aid funding.
* Impact Aid is the most efficient education program because money is wired directly from the Department of Education to the school's bank accounts, avoiding administrative costs at the State level. There are no strings attached to the money and local schools can use it in any way the school board sees fit. In the past this money has been used for such necessities as construction, salaries and supplies. As a leading member and co-chair of the House Impact Aid Coalition and the father of children receiving a public education, I understand the importance of this money to schools in my district and districts across the country.
* The current re-authorization proposed by Congresswoman Hirono and me makes an already strong program even stronger and more efficient. Our proposal eliminates duplicative provisions that are no longer necessary, corrects a major error in the previous reauthorizations allocation formula, updates the law to meet the challenges of base realignments and troop deployments currently faced by this Nation, and it simplifies and reforms a number of provisions to the law that ensures a smooth road ahead for school districts that rely on this money as an integral part of their budgets.
* I would also like to mention the important contributions to this reauthorization made by Congressman Chet Edwards and Congressman John Carter of Texas. The insight they provided proved to be invaluable as we met with people involved in drafting our proposal. The suggestions of Congressman Carter and Congressman Edwards strengthen this reauthorization and ensure that it will meet the needs of all the school districts affected by Impact Aid.
* The Congress must continue to recognize the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make for all of us and provide their children with the best education possible. The Fair Funding for Schools Act achieves that goal, in Nebraska, Hawaii and every other State in the Union that receives Impact Aid dollars. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important legislation.