Durbin Extends Impact Aid Funding Formula for Schools Serving the Great Lakes Naval Base

Without today's fix, North Chicago schools could lose federal funding this year

[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Impact Aid Coalition, today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a Durbin authored amendment that will extend the practice of allowing the five public schools serving the Great Lakes Naval Training Base to pool their students to maximize federal education assistance through the Impact Aid program.


This amendment – added to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill – is an extension Durbin authored provision added to the FY2008 LHHS Appropriations bill which lifted the prohibition on pooling students for the purpose of Impact Aid calculations. That provision was in effect for two years and is set to expire at the end of this fiscal year.


“For the last two years, North Chicago schools have had much success in maximizing federal education assistance with this new formula,” said Durbin. “While a permanent solution is needed, this extension will protect North Chicago schools from losing their heavily impacted status. It will also continue to ensure that the best educational opportunities are available to Navy families.”


The five public schools serving the Great Lakes Naval Base – North Shore District 112, Township High School District 113, Glenbrook High School District 225, Glenview School District 34 and North Chicago District 187 – are facing a situation unique in the country. The Navy is redistributing housing for sailors and officers though a public-private venture, which will place Navy housing as far as 2 miles from the Base. The redistribution will move a projected 200 students from one heavily impacted district in North Chicago to four other school districts in surrounding communities.


Without this extension, all affected school districts will be hurt. North Chicago will lose its heavily impacted status and the significantly higher per-student subsidy that brings. Surrounding school districts will serve additional students they are not currently equipped to serve and whose families are not generating property taxes to support the public schools.


Many local school districts across the U.S. serve students affiliated with military families and include federally owned land exempt from local taxes which fund public schools. These school districts face special challenges — they must provide a quality education to the children in the area and meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, while often operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts. Impact Aid supplements the cost of educating those students whose families are part of the U.S. military.


The Durbin provision will help bring the federal government closer to meeting an obligation it has failed for years – its obligation to the children of members of our armed services. The federal government has never fully reimbursed schools for the cost of educating military-affiliated children, and the children and school districts who educate them suffer. This includes the over 1,500 children of Great Lakes personnel who attend public schools in the area.


“We need to make sure that school districts have the funds they need to provide each student with a quality public education,” said Durbin. “Many local school districts across the U.S. cover areas that include federally owned land exempt from local taxes which fund public schools. Impact Aid fills this gap in funding to make sure that no student is left behind.”