Tester calls for strong funding for Montana schools
Senator: Impact Aid is the ‘lifeblood’ for rural school districts
(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is calling on Congress to provide “strong and continued” Impact Aid funding for Montana school districts as Congressional leaders work on the 2015 Appropriations bill for the Department of Education.
Impact Aid is the oldest federal education program, created in 1950 to provide a payment in lieu of taxes to local school districts that lose tax revenue as a result of tax-exempt federal property.
Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that will draft the upcoming legislation, is joining a bipartisan coalition to make sure committee leaders know how important the education initiative is for students and families in rural America.
“Impact Aid funds a range of programs, including programs to retain highly qualified teachers, adequate technology, facilities renovation, and maintenance of transportation fleets,” Tester and 40 other Senators said. “For many districts, this funding represents the very lifeblood that allows their school systems to operate.”
Tester notes that Impact Aid supports military and Native American children. Many of the affected school districts are in rural areas with few taxpayers. Without adequate funding, these districts could be forced to close schools.
While on the Appropriations Committee, Tester has fought to prevent deep proposed cuts to Impact Aid. In 2013, 72 Montana school districts received Impact Aid support.
Tester’s letter to Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who head the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees education funding, is also signed by fellow Montana Senator John Walsh also signed the letter.