HONOLULU, Hawaii -- An important date for Hawaii public schools is just days from now, Sept. 7.

On this day, students will bring home a federal survey card for their 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.

These survey 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.

The law recognizes the following as eligible:

•Parents who both live and work on federal property;

•Parents who are members of the uniformed services and reside on a military base, including foreign military officers;

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

•Parents who are civilian employees of the federal government or who work on federal property;

•Parents who reside on federal property but who work on taxable land;

•Parents who live on an Indian trust or treaty land; and

•Parents who 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 the families of federally-connected students who pay less in taxes into the school district 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. People who work on federal property, work for companies that do not pay local property tax. People who work for the military have the ability to shop for food and other items at a post exchange that does not charge sales tax.

Therefore, Hawaii and its school districts lose not only property tax revenue, but also sales tax and licensing fees.

Impact aid is used in areas in which the DOE most needs aid, 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. By filling out and returning the survey cards, parents are helping schools claim and benefit from their authorized share of federal support.

Parents are encouraged to fill out and return surveys to schools promptly.

Not responding or returning the federal survey cards 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 revenues to Hawaii classrooms statewide.

Page last updated Fri September 2nd, 2011 at 00:00