RECOGNIZING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF MILITARY IMPACTED SCHOOLS, TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATION, AND STAFF FOR THEIR ONGOING CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION OF MILITARY CHILDREN -- (House of Representatives - May 04, 2004)
Mr. HAYES. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 598) recognizing the valuable contributions of military impacted schools, teachers, administration, and staff for their ongoing contributions to the education of military children.
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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.Res. 598 legislation recognizing the valuable contributions of military impacted schools, teachers, administration, and staff for their ongoing contributions to the education of military children. I want to reiterate the importance of supporting our military families through the Impact Aid program, and I commend the teachers and school administrators for the outstanding work they do. This program is vital to the education of millions of children across the nation.
Impact Aid was created in 1950 when Congress recognized the obligation of the Federal Government to assist school districts and communities that experience a loss in their local property tax base due to the presence of the Federal Government. Between 1950 and 1969, the Impact Aid Program was fully funded by Congress. Since that time the funding level has not kept pace with the amount required to cover the Federal Government's tax obligation. Impact Aid funds are sent directly to the school district. The funds go directly into the school district's general fund for operations such as the purchase of textbooks, computers, utilities, and payment of staff salaries. Over 90 percent of funding for education comes from local funds such as property taxes. But what happens if that property is owned by the Federal Government and is off the tax rolls? Kids report to class with no property tax dollars needed for their school. In my district more than 1,000 students at Monmouth Regional High School, more than 1,300 students in Eatontown, and more than 1,700 in Tinton Falls are affected by impact aid. The teachers there work very hard to provide a quality education to all their students. Teachers who teach students of military families have the added burden of teaching students whose parents are or may be going overseas.
The quickest way to take a soldier or sailor's mind off their mission is to have them worrying about their children's education. Children from military families come from some of the hardest working, most patriotic families, but the schools they attend sometimes face bankruptcy. This is because of the way we fund our nation's schools. Impact Aid honors our commitment to military families. It guarantees that those families who serve to protect our freedom are in turn protected by the Federal Government. The hard working teachers of these districts ensure that these children of military members will succeed. The administrators, teachers, aids, guidance counselors, librarians, bus drivers, janitors all need to be commended for their work.
Our constitution commands that the first job of the Federal Government is to "provide for the common defense." As we improve the pay and benefits of men and women in uniform, we must also support their kids, the local schools they attend, and the teachers who teach them. The time is now to support schools that educate the children whose parents wear our nation's uniform.