This week, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) highlighted its partnership with NSBA to advance federal investments in the Impact Aid program that provides a vital source of support for 1,400 school districts across the nation that have a federal presence within their boundaries. The Impact Aid program helps districts provide educational services to students whose parents/guardians are enlisted in our Armed Forces, as well as those who reside on tribal trust lands.
In its May-June IMPACT newsletter (page six), the NAFIS staff wrote about its partnerships with national organizations to advocate on Capitol Hill for the Impact Aid program. "We rely on our partners as a resource for information and they provide us with an open line of communication regarding Impact Aid and public education policy," NAFIS stated. "One of our closest partner organizations is the National School Boards Association (NSBA). Many NAFIS members are also active in this organization; the overlapping membership is part of what leads to such a close partnership."
For decades NAFIS and NSBA have worked to champion Impact Aid, from reauthorization provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and U.S. Department of Education regulatory policies to the congressional budget and appropriations process. Recently, NSBA Executive Director and CEO Tom Gentzel participated in a NAFIS forum on the "Outlook for K-12 Education in the Trump Administration and New Congress." For Fiscal Year 2017, our organizations were successful in securing increased appropriations for Impact Aid federal properties payments to eligible districts, as a replacement for the lost local revenue caused by the federal presence, such as national parks, grasslands and national laboratories. Each of these school districts faces the same financial challenge: a loss of taxable property within their jurisdictions and, thus, a loss of local revenue, but just as many students to educate. In some communities, the federal government is the largest landowner; and, many federal property school districts are small and in rural areas without the additional resources to address the shortfall in revenues for education.
NSBA appreciates this partnership that benefits education investments in our school districts and their communities. Additional information about Impact Aid is available here.