I am the sponsor of House Resolution 1641, celebrating September 30th 2010 as the 60th anniversary of the Impact Aid program. Hawaii schools received 55 point 5 million dollars in federal Impact Aid for Fiscal Year 2008-2009, the most recent year for which data is available.
The majority of public school funding in America comes from local property taxes. Unfortunately, in school districts where the federal government controls part of the land, districts cannot collect revenue in local property taxes. Hawaii, for example, hosts many large U.S. military bases where thousands of our brave men and women and their families live and work. These bases do not generate property tax revenue to help educate Hawaii's military children and all our children in Hawaii's schools.
In Hawaii, as in other states, national parks, federal prisons, Indian lands, and low-rent public housing also decrease the property tax revenue available for schools.
Left uncorrected, our children in federally-impacted areas would have less funding for education than their peers in areas with no federal impact. This is patently unfair.
In 1950, Congress recognized the need to address this inequity and created Impact Aid, the original civil rights education law. Impact Aid reimburses school districts for the costs of hosting federal property and educating federally-connected children.
Today, just as in 1950, we recognize the federal obligation to support high-quality education for ALL children. No matter what type of land you live on--and especially if your family serves our nation--ALL our children deserve a high-quality education.
Our Impact Aid community crosses all partisan and geographic divides. We have the military community. Indian land school districts. Urban and rural communities. Democratic and Republican districts. Districts large and small. Today, Impact Aid payments support over 11 million children in nearly 1500 school districts.
The need for federal Impact Aid is especially important now, as Hawaii and school districts nationwide continue to recover from the greatest recession since the 1930s. Impact Aid funds come with few strings attached, and help districts support a wide range of vital services, including teacher salaries, tutoring, after-school programs, textbooks, utilities, and other local needs.
Today we celebrate Impact Aid for advancing educational equity and recognize that we still have much to do to give ALL our children a truly world-class education.