May 03, 2017

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $23 Million Increase In Impact Aid That Will Benefit North Country Schools, Especially Near Fort Drum

Federal Funding Deal Includes Increase In ‘Impact Aid’ That Will Help Districts In The North Country That Educate Children Of Men And Women In Uniform Schumer & Gillibrand: Impact Aid Critical to North Country Schools, And Future of Education in New York State

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the federal funding deal provides $1.3 billion, a $23 million increase from last year, for the Impact Aid Program. The Impact Aid program is a federal program designed to supplement schools in districts that are on a large portion of federally-owned, nontaxable land. Several districts in New York including schools in the North Country around Fort Drum rely on this funding in order to support educational development at schools and to give the children of our nation’s servicemen and women the education they deserve. The districts that receive the largest portion of this aid are Indian River Central School District, Carthage Central School District and Watertown City School District, South Jefferson, Sackets Harbor, Belleville-Henderson, Thousand Island, Lowville and Copenhagen School Districts will also benefit from this increase in aid.

“I fought hard to ensure any spending proposal would maintain and increase funding for North Country schools that educate the children of Fort Drum families. This new spending deal will allow for federal funds to fill the gaps through the Department of Education and puts resources right where they belong – in North Country classrooms.” said Senator Schumer.

“Families in the North Country rely on this funding to provide our children with the education and services they need,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These federal funds would help ensure children in military communities have access to the same educational opportunities as other children. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to help schools and military communities in New York and across the country provide students with quality educational programs.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that Fort Drum infuses over $1 billion into the North Country’s economy, and many of the schools in the area are attended by the children of men and women in uniform. For example at Carthage Central, nearly 50 percent of students come from military families, while at Indian River that number reaches 60 percent. Impact Aid helps cover the gaps in special cases where the absence of funding normally raised through property taxes is not viable. A decrease in this support would have crippling effects on the programs, courses, and other resources that are offered by several districts in Northern New York. But with the new $1.3 billion allocation, North Country schools that serve Fort Drum families will continue to benefit from the Impact Aid Program.

Schumer and Gillibrand cited several school districts that benefit from the aid, namely Carthage Central and Indian River, during the 2015-16 school year:

 

Districts

#Impact Aid

2015-16

Indian River  

$25,868,000

Carthage  

$5,870,000

Watertown  

$564,000

Sackets Harbor  

$48,000

Thousand Island  

$34,000

Belleville-Hen  

$27,000

La Fargeville  

$25,000

Copenhagen  

$23,000

S. Jefferson  

$19,000

Lowville  

$14,000

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have advocated for Impact Aid year after year to ensure that schools in New York maintain access to the necessary resources needed to stay afloat and thrive. The Federal Impact Aid money that these school districts will receive is a significant part of their annual budgets and is the federal government’s assistance to districts that educate the children of our military personnel. Many of the districts that benefit say lack of this aid would have a devastating impact on their finances. Schumer added that the funding allows districts to meet the unique needs of students whose parents are in the military and decreasing it would hurt those who need it most.

Established in 1950, the Impact Aid Program is a major general aid source for over 1,300 school districts nationwide, or almost 10 percent of all districts. For some school districts, Impact Aid supplies as much as 75 percent of the local education operating budget.