Rep. Hastings Introduces Impact Aid Legislation
Impact Aid is truly a federal responsibility. With over 33 percent of Central Washington owned by the federal government, we understand the consequences and impact it has on the ability of local schools to make needed improvements
Washington, D.C.—Today Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Doc Hastings (WA-04) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring timely federal Impact Aid payments to school districts affected by federal land ownership.
“Impact Aid is truly a federal responsibility. With over 33 percent of Central Washington owned by the federal government, we understand the consequences and impact it has on the ability of local schools to make needed improvements,” said Rep. Hastings. “I am pleased to work with Rep. Larsen to ensure the federal government keeps its obligation to Impact Aid school districts.”
“School districts that rely on Impact Aid funding fall into a constant cycle of budgetary uncertainty as this funding is never guaranteed, often not paid in full, and rarely paid in a timely manner. My legislation will require the Department of Education to fully reimburse Impact Aid school districts in a timely manner to help remove the guess work when they create their budgets,” Rep. Larsen said. "Teachers, students and their families are the ones who suffer as a result. That is unfair and I am working to ensure schools get the help they need when they need it."
This bill proposes changes to remedy the chronically late distribution of Impact Aid payments many school districts receive from the Department of Education. There have been numerous examples across the country of federally impacted school districts waiting as many as 5-6 years after the initial award to receive full funding. Requiring school districts to wait such a long period of time to receive substantial portions of approved Impact Aid payments places an unfair burden on them—affecting their ability to manage their budgets and requiring them to seek creative ways to cover expenditures until the announced payments arrive.
Specifically, the bill would require the Department of Education to allocate the full amount of Impact Aid funding due to school districts no later than two fiscal years following the initial fiscal year in which Impact Aid funding was appropriated. HR2094 does not authorize any additional funding for the Impact Aid program—it simply requires that the Department of Education disperse existing funds in an acceptable time period.
There are currently over 1,300 federally impacted school districts across the country serving 15 million children that rely heavily on funding from the Impact Aid Program. Impact Aid was established in 1950 to compensate school districts for the substantial and continuing financial burden resulting from the loss of tax revenue due to federal land ownership. In Washington’s fourth district Glenwood, Grand Coulee Dam, Granger, Kennewick, Mabton, Mt. Adams, Quincy, Richland, Sunnyside, Toppenish and Wapato School districts are affected by the Impact Aid program.