Federal survey cards are worth millions for Hawaii Schools

| September 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

School Liaison Office
News Release 

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Students attending public schools in Hawaii will bring home a federal survey card, Tuesday, for parents to complete and return to schools the following day. 

Schools will receive federal impact aid based on the number of survey cards that are returned. 

Cards determine the number of federally connected students in the public school system. Federally connected students are those children whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) reside and/or work on federal property. Eligibility includes children whose parent(s) are in the following categories:

•Both live and work on federal property;

•Are members of the uniformed services and reside on a military base, including children of foreign military officers;

•Are members of the uniformed services, but who reside off the military base, including children of foreign military officers;

•Are civilian employees of the federal government, or who work on federal property;

•Reside on federal property, but who work on taxable land;

•Live on Indian trust or treaty land; or

•Reside in federal low-rent housing, not including Section 8 housing. 

Based on these criteria, data is collected from the survey cards and is delivered to the federal Department of Education, which reimburses the Hawaii DoE with impact aid for educating federally connected students.  

Impact aid is intended to partially compensate the Hawaii DoE for families of federally connected students who pay less in school district taxes than local residents. The aid partially makes up for local tax losses resulting from tax-free federal installations. 

For example, people living on federal property do not pay local property tax, and people who work on federal property work for companies that do not pay local property tax. Also, people who work for the military have the ability to shop for food and other items at a post exchange, which does not charge sales tax. Therefore, Hawaii and its school districts lose out on not only property tax revenue, but also sales tax and licensing fees. 

Impact aid is used in areas that the DoE needs it most, as determined by the locally elected school board. These funds can be used for teacher salaries, school programs, materials, equipment and supplies. 

“Hawaii’s public schools rely on federal impact aid as a significant part of the education budget,” said Patricia Hamamoto, former superintendent, Hawaii DoE. “By filling out and returning the survey cards, parents are helping our schools claim and benefit from their authorized share of federal support.”

Parents are encouraged to fill out and return surveys to schools promptly. Non-response could result in the loss of millions of dollars in federal funds that benefit both military and local communities. Every card that is not returned will result in lost revenue for Hawaii classrooms statewide. 

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