Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today announced that the national defense bill includes $40 million dollars of funding for the Department of Defense Impact Aid Program, and an additional $10 million for the Department of Defense Impact Aid for Children with Disabilities Program. The funding was included as a part of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that just passed the Senate and now heads to the president for signature.
“I was proud to fight for and deliver $50 million to the Impact Aid program, which is a vital lifeline for the school districts near Fort Drum. Only with sufficient funding can our schools attract the best teachers and provide the best education for students,” said Senator Schumer. “This federal investment takes undue burden off the backs of local taxpayers and puts resources right where they belong – in impacted North Country classrooms.”
“Students who are a part of the Fort Drum community rely on Impact Aid in order to have equal access to a high-quality education,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “Fort Drum is home to one of the Army’s premier units and is an integral part of the community. This newly passed defense bill will help ensure that these schools can retain highly qualified teachers and get technology needed to provide a good education. I was proud to fight for this funding, and I will continue working to provide schools in the North Country and military communities across the country with the resources necessary to succeed.”
The Impact Aid Program is a federal program designed to supplement school budgets in districts that are on a large portion of federally owned, nontaxable land, such as military bases and Native American reservations. Several districts in the North Country around Fort Drum, including the Sackets Harbor Central School District, the Carthage Central School District, and the Indian River Central School District rely on this funding in order to support educational development at schools.
Since 1990, Congress has authorized and funded the Department of Defense (DoD) Impact Aid Program. This program provides assistance to about 120 school districts, educating more than 250,000 military-connected students. To be eligible, a local education agency must have enrollment of at least 20 percent military-dependent students. The DoD Impact Aid program ensures that eligible school districts can meet the unique needs of students from military families and provides critical resources to support special education programs for students with a disability who attend these schools. In April, Gillibrand joined a bipartisan push with 23 Senate colleagues to urge Senate appropriators to fully fund DoD Impact Aid for the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations bill.