10/01/13 — District asking parents to fill out surveys

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District asking parents to fill out surveys

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 1, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County Public Schools is sending home more than 19,350 Impact Aid Surveys today, which could result in supplemental federal funding.

Impact Aid is a federal aid program administered through the U.S. Department of Education that provides funding for a portion of the cost of educating children whose families live on federal properties or whose parents are employed on federal properties. The program is designed to assist local districts that have lost property tax revenues due to the presence of tax-exempt properties, or have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected students.

All Wayne County public school parents, even those who are not federally connected, are asked to complete the surveys and return them to their child's school by Friday, officials said.

"We need every survey turned in to ensure our schools receive the maximum amount of Impact Aid funding, as well as to generate accurate data for the district that can be used as needed for future federal grant applications," said Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for fiscal services.

Students who are federally connected include those who live in qualifying low-income or federally subsidized housing, or those who have parents who are active military, reservists and/or base civilian workers or contractors.

School district administrators said that although schools have worked to heighten awareness of the significance of the Impact Aid Survey, each year one concern is consistently expressed by a small percentage of parents who learn about the survey for the first time and who are confused as to why they need to complete it.

"Some have the misconception that the United States government already provides funds to the school district for the education of our military connected students, which is simply not the case," Mrs. Barwick said. "Impact Aid is a vital funding source for our schools. It helps supplement those lost property tax dollars in Wayne County for non-taxable federal land where our students live or parents work, such as Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which occupies 3,300 acres and houses or employs family members of approximately 2,000 students."

The allotment can be used to assist schools with staffing, supplies and other educational needs. Last year, the district received a three-year $1.6 million Department of Defense STEM grant, which allowed seven schools with a significant number of students from military families to receive instructional technology ranging from iPads to STEM labs and professional development training for staff. The seven schools were eligible because of the information collected through the Impact Aid Survey.