News

Impact Aid Benefits Our Children's Education

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Each year, the U.S. Department of Education conducts a survey to redistribute Impact Aid funds for students of parents or guardians employed on federal properties including military, civilian, contractors and Singaporeans.

This program secures more than $1.5 million annually for the Mountain Home School District to directly support a wide variety of expenses to include the following:

- Salaries of teachers and teacher aides
- Purchasing textbooks, computers and other equipment
- After-school programs and remedial tutoring
- Advance placement classes
- Special enrichment programs

"It's less than 10 percent of our total budget of $26 million, but it makes a huge impact," said Cliff Ogborn, Mountain Home School District financial manager. "We would be in dire straits without this program and unable to afford many of our curriculum enhancements."

This year the Mountain Home AFB School Advisory Committee was instrumental in helping to increase participation.

Ogborn said the base has always been supportive and encourages every parent or guardian to fill out one form per student in their family each year so they can accurately prove enrollment to the federal government.

"All of the data asked for on the forms is necessary," said Col. Gary Kubat, 366th Mission Support Group commander. "The school district will compile and file the Impact Aid request based on the information parents and guardians provide."

Kubat said the Mountain Home School District budget was $26,862,418 with 3,758 students enrolled last year. He said the average net cost to educate each student for a year was $7,148.

"There is a misperception in the military community that Impact Aid funds are some kind of cash cow, and that military families bring a huge budget gain to the local schools," Kubat said. "The opposite is actually true. The education of military affiliated students is largely subsidized by the local community, even with Impact Aid being provided."

The net funding received in Mountain Home last year from Impact Aid for military affiliated students was $1,147 per student.

"This is about $6,000 less than what it costs to educate a student," Kubat said. "A majority of our military families don't pay local or state taxes which fund our schools."

Kubat added that this places a burden on the local community to cover the education expenses of our kids, and Impact Aid only partially offsets this cost. He said Impact Aid is not insignificant, though; last year's $1,605,565 funding was vital to educating our students.

Ogborn emphasized the extra federal funds generated from this program benefit all civilian and military students in the district. He said that this year there are approximately 1,000 students who have parents or guardians employed on federal properties out of a total number of 3,800 students enrolled.

"Unfortunately, we don't have adequate funding for our staff from the state of Idaho so we have to find other sources to pay them the salaries they deserve to remain competitive with our surrounding school districts," Ogborn said.

If you are a parent or guardian employed on a federal property that hasn't filled out a form yet for each of your children, there is still time. The school district will be accepting forms until Dec. 15.

For more information, please contact Bonnie Henderson, Mountain Home School District administrative assistant, 208-587-2580 or Mike Jewell, Mountain Home AFB School Liaison Officer, 208-828-2458.

Editor's Note: According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Impact Aid program was established after World War II which led to a significant expansion of federal support for education. The Lanham Act in 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950 eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military and other federal installations by making payments to school districts. For more information, visit their official website at http://www.ed.gov/.