Impact aid surveys help secure important school funding

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Bedford High School officials recently sent military and civilian families of high school students living on base the 2017-2018 “First Count” Federal Impact Aid Survey for federally-connected students.

Parents and guardians of students enrolled in the Bedford School District are asked to complete and return the “First Count” aid form by Oct. 31. Information gathered through the survey process determines Bedford’s eligibility for impact aid funding. The forms are confidential and the information collected is available only to school and federal officials.

“It is vital that parents take these surveys seriously and support their students’ school system by accurately completing the Federal Impact Aid Survey,” said Col. Roman L. Hund, 66th Air Base Group commander. “The information collected through these surveys helps to determine the district’s allotment of Federal Impact Aid. Ensuring these surveys are signed, dated and returned by the deadline is an important step in securing critical resources for the school system.”

The U.S. Department of Education manages the Federal Impact Aid Program, which provides assistance to local school districts with a significant number of children residing on military bases or other federal properties or, to a lesser extent, children whose parents are serving in the military or are employed on eligible federal properties who do not live on federal property.

The in-lieu-of-tax program ensures funding for some of the educational costs of federally-connected students. It also supports local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally-connected children.

Rather than act as a “special stipend,” the program replaces a portion of what other individuals would pay in taxes and is used to fund public education in the area, said Laurel Wironen, Hanscom’s school liaison specialist.

“Bedford High and other local schools count on Hanscom families to return completed surveys to ensure the district has the resources needed to educate our children,” Wironen said. “Typically, schools rely on property taxes for funding, but locally funded schools with military families don’t have that option. The information collected by the aid surveys helps to determine the amount of funding a school receives. The surveys may seem insignificant, but they are critical.”

To ensure accurate reporting, Hanscom families that believe they do not fit into one of the Federal Impact Aid categories listed on the form should contact Wironen for assistance.

Wironen added that the surveys are subject to audit by the Department of Education and that Bedford Public Schools are complying with federal law when sending them out.

Impact Aid covers a wide variety of expenses for school districts, including teacher and teacher aide salaries, textbooks, computers and other equipment, after-school programs, remedial tutoring, advanced placement classes and special enrichment programs.

Completed forms should be returned to Bedford High School by Oct. 31. Families may also email their forms to laurel.wironen@us.af.mil. For any questions or concerns regarding the form, Wironen can also be reached at 781-225-1482.

For more information about Federal Impact Aid, visit the following websites: Department of Education Impact Aid at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/impactaid/index.html, Military Impacted Schools Association at www.militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org or National Association of Federally Impacted Schools at www.nafisdc.org.