Garrison Col. Bob Pastorelli meets with first-graders at Legacy Elementary to explain the importance of having parents fill out the Federal Impact Aid forms. Looking on, from left, are Scott McClain, Dr. Ann Roy Moore, Dr. Dee Fowler and Dr. Terry Davis.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- BRAC is not only bringing more people and jobs to north Alabama. It's also bringing more federal money to local schools as well.

The Federal Impact Aid initiative -- which provides federal grant money to local school systems burdened or impacted by federal activities such as Base Realignment and Closure -- kicked off its annual enrollment process Sept. 8. Representatives from local school systems and Redstone Arsenal met with students and the media at Legacy Elementary School to promote the program, and ask for community support.

Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli was among those present from Redstone. He met with students to briefly explain the program, and to emphasize the importance of the aid to the schools.

"Your education is the most important part of your life. This will help you get the best education possible," he said.

Federal Impact Aid assists school districts in educating federally-connected students, or those children whose parents work on federal property, including military, Department of Defense/NASA civilians, or contractors, as well as children residing on federal property or in federally subsidized housing. Redstone Arsenal employs more than 34,000 people, many of whom have children who qualify as federally-connected.

Since the announcement of the Base Realignment and Closure in 2005, three local school districts have accepted more than 5,300 new students, a 12 percent increase. Those districts have received approximately $5 million in Federal Impact money, and nearly $10 million since 2000. Arab City School district started participating in 2007 and has received almost $50,000.

Redstone Arsenal school liaison officer Barbara Williams said the aid is vital to schools suffering in the current economy.

"Impact Aid funding helps local school districts in proration, economic crises, and reductions in the Alabama Education budget. By participating in the Impact Aid program, we can better prepare our children for the future through additional teachers, special programs and advanced technology," she said.

Participating school systems have until Jan. 31 to collect the forms, but advocate turning them in as soon as possible. Forms were sent home in Madison County, Madison city, Huntsville city, and Arab city schools. The forms can also be downloaded at

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16