MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District is one of six school districts in Northwest Washington state that U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen recently announced would receive more federal Impact Aid funding immediately.
Because these school districts serve military communities and Native American tribes, they rely on Impact Aid funding to make up for lost property tax revenue. The U.S. Department of Education will now provide immediate payment of 70 percent of the amount due to school districts, instead of the 45 percent that was previously announced.
"Impact Aid is a lifeline to school districts that keeps teachers in our classrooms," Larsen said. "Too often schools are left hanging, not knowing when or if they will get the funding they need to keep operating. This announcement goes a long way in providing schools the certainty they need to operate this year."
Larsen authored the Impact Aid Timely Repayment Act to require the Department of Education to fully reimburse Impact Aid school districts in a timely manner to eliminate uncertainty for those districts. That bill has bipartisan support and was approved by the House Education and Workforce Committee earlier this year.
The Marysville School District received $656,757.13 in Impact Aid funds in 2012, and MSD Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland anticipated that this announced move could represent "something more than $200,000" for Marysville.
"A 45 percent reduction in Impact Aid would have been another major strain on our budget," Nyland said. "Knowing that we will be getting at least 70 percent is great news."
According to Nyland, the Department of Education had been holding funds back in anticipation of sequestration, the automatic reduction in federal spending triggered on Jan 1, 2013, unless Congress agrees to a different spending plan.
"Due to budget reductions at the state and local levels over the past several years, the Marysville School District has a very small cash reserve," Nyland said. "Congressman Larsen has been a good supporter of federal Impact Aid, a significant source of funding for Marysville schools. His efforts are greatly appreciated."
"I am working to pass the Impact Aid Timely Repayment Act before the end of this Congress because it will allow our schools to better serve all of our students," Larsen said. "Schools that serve our military communities and Indian tribes need to be able to plan their budgets and access the funding they are due."
Public schools are required by law to accept all children from military families, Native American reservations and other federal establishments. Families in federal housing, however, do not pay local property taxes on this land, denying local schools their traditional funding source. This puts a severe financial burden on school districts that educate a significant number of federally-connected children.