News: Impact Aid federal survey cards to go home with students
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - On Sept. 5 many students, including those aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, will bring home federal survey cards for parents to complete as soon as possible in order to bring in additional funding for their school.
The 180,000 cards being distributed statewide come from a program called Impact Aid, which started in 1950.
Each year, the cards are completed and counted. Public schools are granted additional funding from Congress to go toward various programs, services and equipment the school may need based
on the number of valid and completed cards received.
“Impact Aid was designed to assist 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,” according to the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
On average, the federal government grants the state of Hawaii approximately $40 million per year to fund the many federally-impacted public schools on the islands.
“[Impact Aid] provides funding to support academic programs and provide opportunities for all children to learn,” said Cherise Imai, the military liaison for the Hawaii State Department of Education. “Every single dollar counts. Every single cent can go far ... [Impact Aid is] very vital.”
For example, Imai said that funding from Impact Aid in the past has directly contributed toward public school transportation in Hawaii.
Imai added that the greatest revenue is generated by active duty service members living on a military base who have a child attending public school. Imai encourages parents to ask their children, especially those in high school, for their survey card, as public high schools have had low responses.
To reaffirm the importance of the survey cards, many children went home not only with the card itself, but a letter from Col. Brian P. Annichiarico, commanding officer, MCB Hawaii.
“I encourage all our parents of public school students to consider it their duty to ensure our schools receive the critical Impact Aid funding by returning the completed Federal Survey Cards promptly,” writes Annichiarico. “No response could result in the loss of millions of dollars in Federal funds that could otherwise benefit both our military families and our local communities.”
Heidi Rezentes, the vice principal for Mokapu Elementary School, said the school highly encourages parents to return the survey cards by the next day, Sept. 6.
Rezentes said that the school is considering awarding a pizza party to the class that returns all of its cards first. In the past, the school has successfully given the same incentive for students to return other types of forms the school needed back in a timely fashion.
“We are providing some incentives to stress how important filling out these forms are,” Rezentes said.
Rezentes said the school will likely use the funds for academic purposes, whether hiring new teachers or paraprofessionals, who assist teachers in the classroom.
“Our priority is always the academic need,” Rezentes said.