Erica Lewis, Redstone school liaison officer, and her husband, Lt. Col Eric Lewis, sign an Impact Aid form Oct. 12 at Sparkman High School.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Erica Lewis, Redstone school liaison officer, and her husband, Lt. Col Eric Lewis, sign an Impact Aid form Oct. 12 at Sparkman High School. (Photo Credit: Erin Elise Enyinda ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine describes the importance of Impact Aid during the kickoff event Oct. 12 at Sparkman High School.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine describes the importance of Impact Aid during the kickoff event Oct. 12 at Sparkman High School. (Photo Credit: Erin Elise Enyinda ) VIEW ORIGINAL

Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine joined area school superintendents Oct. 12 to encourage parents who live and work at Redstone Arsenal to complete federal Impact Aid forms so the districts can get a share of that source of funding.

“The success of Redstone Arsenal is directly tied to the success of our local and regional educational systems,” Cozine said at the Impact Aid kickoff at Sparkman High School.

“To recruit and retain the best and brightest, our local schools must be competitive with the top schools in the nation. This involves having the adequate funding to provide students with the necessary tools for a great education.”

Local school systems are entitled to Impact Aid money if either parent or guardian of a student is employed on certain federal properties, is on active duty or if they live in low-rent federal housing or any combination of these requirements.

The parents of students in the Madison and Huntsville city school systems and Madison County district can fill out electronic forms available through the PowerSchool parent portals, and hard copies are also still available.

Cozine said that Redstone, the largest federal and government employer in the area, partners each year with local school districts to inform military-connected families about the importance of filling out the Impact Aid form.

Employees working at the installation include military, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, Department of Justice personnel and contractors, Cozine said, and “they all qualify for this unique program.”

He said school districts use Impact Aid funding to help pay for expenses including teacher salaries, after-school programs, textbooks, computers, remedial tutoring, advanced classes, enrichment programs for students with disabilities and STEM opportunities.

Madison County Schools Superintendent Ken Kubik said the Impact Aid campaign is another opportunity for the three area school districts “to unite in our shared commitment to the betterment of our students and to the cause of education.

“Our schools and students have reaped substantial benefits from the invaluable support and the active involvement of Redstone Arsenal personnel including the vital participation in the federal Impact Aid survey.”

Since the inception of the Impact Aid program, the Madison County school system has received more than $1.8 million, according to Kubik. He said the money is used to bolster the district’s JROTC and special education programs and empowers it to seek federal grants that have an impact on students.

Completing the Impact Aid form is “a vital contribution that enables us to do more for the betterment of our students,” Kubik said.

“This funding allows us to enhance the educational experiences in our classrooms,” Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Clarence Sutton said. “It directly translates into opportunities for our students in STEM education from pre-K to 12th grade.”

According to the district, it has received about $4.68 million in Impact Aid funds since the 2007-08 school fiscal year.

Impact Aid funds help the district offer an array of career technical opportunities, he said. “These opportunities align seamlessly with our core curriculum and promising fields like robotics, cyber technology, advanced manufacturing and fine arts. Each of these programs plays a vital role in shaping the workforce for tomorrow.”

“We are so blessed that we live in this region and that every day, thousands of (employees from) Team Redstone, the FBI and other agencies serve, protect and are dedicated to our country,” Ed Nichols, the superintendent of Madison City Schools, said. “They make an impact and every day, their children come to the best school districts in this state.”

Wherever students live in the region, “they can go to a school that will impact and offer them the opportunity to excel at the top level that they want to perform,” he said. “Why do you think the world has come to our community? Because we make an impact, the same impact that their moms and their dads and their family members make serving this country.”

The Madison city district has received more than $5.3 million in Impact Aid funding since 1999, according to school data. The district has received more than $12.6 million in Department of Defense Education Activity grant funding since 2010.