Legislation authored by Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, to help school districts serving military or tribal communities advanced this week in a key House of Representatives committee. The text of Larsen's Impact Aid Timely Repayment Act was included in the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990) which the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved last night.
"Impact Aid is critical for several communities in Northwest Washington, including Oak Harbor, Marysville and Ferndale," Larsen said. "For too long, Impact Aid funding has not been guaranteed, not paid in full, and rarely paid in a timely manner. My bill would require the Department of Education to fully reimburse Impact Aid school districts in a timely manner. This will help relieve school districts of uncertainty when planning their budgets. It will help make sure that these schools are able to give the best educations to all of their students."
Public schools are required by law to accept all children from military families, Indian reservations or other federal establishments. Families in federal housing, however, do not pay local property taxes on this land, denying local schools of their traditional funding source. This puts a severe financial burden on school districts that educate a significant number of federally connected children, diminishing the overall quality of education, and increasing the funding burden on local taxpayers. Larsen's legislation would relieve those pressures and provide more certainty for planning.