In addition to Impact Aid, NAFIS advocacy focuses on the following policy and regulatory issues before the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Education.

School Construction

Federally impacted school districts have limited bonding capacity to generate revenue for school facilities due to the presence of nontaxable Federal property. Since 1950, the Federal government has recognized its obligation to support construction and facilities needs for federally impacted schools, with money allocated by formula and competitive grants through Section 7007 of the Impact Aid statute. Funding for this section of the law falls far below what is required to meet federally impacted school districts’ needs. NAFIS promotes awareness of those needs and advocates for increased funding to meet them.

Budget & Appropriations

The Impact Aid program has not been fully funded since 1969, meaning school districts do not receive all the funding for which they qualify under the program’s formulas. A key focus of NAFIS advocacy is appropriations—the decisions made by Congress about how the Federal government allocates resources—in an effort to increase funding. Advocacy efforts include a targeted focus on Impact Aid funding and on raising the caps on non-defense discretionary funding that are in place under the Budget Control Act, which have limited investments in domestic programs since FY13.

NAFIS engages throughout the budget and appropriations process, including the President’s budget request, congressional budget resolutions, subcommittee and committee appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, omnibus spending bills and more.

School Vouchers

NAFIS has a longstanding policy of opposing the redirection of public taxpayer dollars outside the public school system, including school vouchers and voucher schemes.

In 2017, legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate proposed turning Impact Aid into an Education Savings Account (ESA) program for military children. ESAs are a form of school vouchers: the legislation would redirect Impact Aid funding from federally impacted districts to parents of some military-connected students to use for home schooling, private schools or other educational expenses. NAFIS worked with a large coalition to push back against this legislation, which was not enacted, and continues to oppose this proposal.

Administration & Regulations

After Congress authorizes a federal education program such as Impact Aid through legislation and it is signed into law by the president, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) develops regulations to determine how it will operate. To strengthen implementation of Impact Aid and other programs and to monitor the administrative burden of laws and regulations, NAFIS works closely with ED, educates the Administration and issues comments on proposed regulations. NAFIS also responds to Requests for Information and non-regulatory guidance issued by ED.

Education Technology

 NAFIS strongly believes that students at federally impacted schools deserve access to the same high-quality educational technology tools as their peers in other school districts. In particular, we are focused on ensuring that students have access to high-speed internet, which can often be limited in more rural districts. As such, we regularly engage with policymakers regarding education technology policy and are active members of coalitions supporting access to technology for students, including the National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training (NCTET) and the Education and Libraries Networks Coalition (EdLiNC).