FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 18, 2014) -- The cost of public education is not cheap and is funded largely by local property taxes. Districts that provide education to children of military and civilian personnel employed at Fort Rucker depend on Federal Impact Aid to offset lost property tax revenue.

The U.S. Department of Education website explains that many local school districts across the United States include within their boundaries parcels of land that are owned by the federal government or that have been removed from the local tax rolls by the government. These school districts face special challenges -- they must provide a quality education to the children living on federal lands while sometimes operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts because federal property is exempt from local property taxes.

Last year, more than 3,500 Fort Rucker-related students counted for impact aid that helped fuel Enterprise, Daleville and Ozark schools, according to Kim Kozel, Fort Rucker Youth Education Support Services school liaison officer. Parents of those students completed the Federal Impact Aid card sent home by the schools to document their resident and work status.

Federal Impact Aid cards will be arriving through October, and completing the card is essential to guarantee schools receive the aid they deserve.

"The funds received are a vital part of a school district's funding and they try diligently to maximize funds by ensuring that the cards are filled out completely and accurately," Kozel said.

"Districts receive payments throughout the school year and 92 percent of the payments are not earmarked for any specific expenditure, with special education and construction funding accounting for the remaining 8 percent," she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, school districts use the aid for a wide variety of expenses, including the salaries of teachers and teacher aides; purchasing textbooks, computers, and other equipment; after-school programs and remedial tutoring; advanced placement classes; and special enrichment programs.

Parents should watch for the cards and remember that by completing and returning Federal Impact Aid cards to local schools, students will continue to enjoy access to the quality programs and education they deserve, Kozel said.