EDUCATION

The Copperas Cove school district is facing a dramatic cut in federal Impact Aid funding, from an earned $12.4 million in the 2016-2017 school year to a projected $385,000 next year.

The district receives the aid on behalf of its qualifying student population.

“Eligible students include children of active duty military, contractors who work on a military base, Native American students who live on Indian Lands, students who reside in low income housing and districts with federal properties located within the district boundaries,” said CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns.

While CCISD will still receive some aid from the federal government, the district is no longer considered heavily impacted due to a declining percentage of eligible children and that means a loss of money.

“For a school district to receive Heavy Impact Aid, 35 percent of the district’s student population must be eligible students,” Burns said in an email.

CCISD’s percentage of eligible students by school year is as follows:

2012-2013 48.85 percent

2013-2014 45.48 percent

2014-2015 40.35 percent

2015-2016 35.53 percent (last year meeting requirement)

2016-2017 34.86 percent

2017-2018 29.39 percent

As a result of this decline, the district’s projected amount of Impact Aid has also steadily decreased — going from $12.4 million in the 2016-17 school year to about $385,500 for the 2019-2020 school year (see below.)

“This reduction is not only taking place in CCISD, but in the other school districts surrounding Ft. Hood and many other military bases in the U.S. where troop and contractor numbers have declined or are declining,” Burns said.

CCISD is attempting to offset the anticipated loss of Impact Aid with the current tax ratification election.

If passed, the tax election will not increase the current tax rate but will shift 13 cents from the district’s interest and sinking fund to the maintenance and operations side of the budget, according to district documents sent by CCISD Director of Communications Wendy Sledd on Aug. 20.

“If CCISD’s tax ratification election is successful, CCISD will receive $4.1 million from the state, not taxpayers, each year to make up for the loss of Heavy Impact Aid,” Burns said.

The neighboring Killeen school district is still qualifying for heavy impact aid, as the district’s eligible student population constituted 39.52 percent, or a total of 17,398 children, of KISD’s 44,028 students in the 2017-18 school year, according to district officials.

KISD Chief Financial Officer Megan Bradley said the district received $53.96 million in Impact Aid in fiscal year 2018 based on that population.

This was an increase from the $48.69 million in Impact Aid that the district received in fiscal year 2017 when an estimated 39.49 percent of the district’s 43,823 students, or 17,306 children, qualified, according to Bradley.

The district won’t have a final tally on eligible students for this school year until mid-December, but has budgeted $46.6 million in the general fund for Impact Aid, Bradley said.

Copperas Cove Impact Aid revenue (by school year):

2016-17: Earned $ 12,473,150.73

2017-18: Projected $ 9,495,766.67

2018-19: Projected $ 7,596,613.34

2019-20: Projected $ 385,508.53

kfarmer@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7557

Educational Reporter

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