Alexander: “Aiding 2,352 Unicoi County Students a Top Priority”

Increasing funding for Impact Aid Program would send $109 million to Rural Schools Nationwide

Posted on February 18, 2008

“We’re working to be sure Unicoi County’s 2,352 students aren’t shortchanged by the budget process in Washington”- Lamar Alexander U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today met with County Mayor Greg Lynch and other officials to outline a plan to secure additional funds for area schools, including Alexander’s efforts to expand Section 8002 of Impact Aid – a program that helps school districts like Unicoi’s that are in areas with large tracts of federally owned land. “We’re working to be sure Unicoi County’s 2,352 students aren’t shortchanged by the budget process in Washington,” Alexander said. “In a county with almost 50 percent of the land held by the federal government we’re faced with a much smaller property tax base, so we have to be sure the government is doing its part to support our schools.” Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a former U.S. Education Secretary, issued letters to the Senate Budget Committee Chairman and Ranking Member requesting that funding limits for Impact Aid be increased. He has also asked the Appropriations Committee to set aside $45 million in additional funding to increase the Impact Aid Section 8002 program that benefits Unicoi County. If approved the additional funding would increase the total amount available for Impact Aid Section 8002 to $109 million for the 2009 Fiscal Year. Impact Aid assists local school districts that have a limited local tax base because of federal ownership of property in their county. To be eligible, a school district must show the assessed value of the federal property that the federal government holds and the amount the federal government will pay the school district is then established using a formula based on the property assessment. “By bringing attention to the needs of Unicoi County to the Senate Committees with jurisdiction over Impact Aid, we’re working to be sure that our students’ receive the best support we can give them,” Alexander said. Text of the letters from Alexander are attached.