Press Releases

Larsen: Hardworking Students Will Get Support They Deserve

Washington, DC, December 3, 2015
Tags: Education

Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today voted for and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a major education reform bill that includes Larsen’s bipartisan language to provide payments to school districts that serve large numbers of military families and tribes. Earlier this year, Larsen introduced the Local Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 1318) in support of Impact Aid.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (the conference report to S. 1177) replaces the flawed standards of No Child Left Behind by giving states more flexibility to craft education solutions tailored to local community needs. The bill also maintains funding for low-income schools and districts, as well as requiring higher standards to improve outcomes for all students, including those with learning challenges.

Larsen has long championed the Impact Aid program, which makes up the difference in revenue for districts that serve large numbers of federally-connected students. The majority of public school funding comes from local property taxes. Since families on military bases and on Indian lands do not pay local property taxes, schools with a large percentage of these students are denied the traditional funding source for public schools. Impact Aid provides direct payments to these school districts, including those in La Conner, Marysville and Oak Harbor.

“Impact Aid keeps teachers and textbooks in the classroom to give our students the best chance at success. Communities like La Conner, Marysville and Oak Harbor depend on Impact Aid to provide their students with the learning opportunities they deserve, which is why I have pushed hard to keep Impact Aid strong. Today, Congress recognized the importance of supporting school districts like these all over the country. Bigger, more certain Impact Aid payments mean school districts can better focus on what they do best – educating our students,” Larsen said.

The Every Student Succeeds Act increases funding for Impact Aid by $100 million through FY2020, to $1.3 billion annually (a 7.8 percent increase). It also includes the following Larsen provisions:

  • Makes permanent language that ensures on-time Impact Aid payments to school districts;
  • Lowers the threshold of federally-connected students that makes a district eligible from 50 percent of students to 45 percent; and
  • Continues to payments for districts that experience a sudden and significant drop in the number of federally-connected students, such as when personnel are transferred between military bases.

Larsen also cheered the replacement of broken No Child Left Behind standards, giving states the ability to focus on specific community needs while holding states accountable for improving outcomes for all students.

“Students, teachers and families in Washington state and across the country have waited too long for Congress to fix the flawed No Child Left Behind standards. Today, our hardworking students and dedicated teachers and administrators are much closer to getting the support they deserve to learn, innovate and succeed.

“The bill I voted for today maintains funding for schools that serve high numbers of low-income students. And it requires states to offer a high-quality education to all students, including those facing challenges such as poverty, disabilities, or those learning English for the first time.

“Federal law should promote innovation like the robotics and aerospace projects I have seen in our classrooms. And it should promote efforts to prepare all students for college and career, like those happening in Washington state. That is why I am pleased to support reforms that put progress of our students first,” Larsen said.

Larsen called for Congress to reauthorize and update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, last summer, in light of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to revoke Washington state’s waiver from the law, which means schools and student test scores must be evaluated under the flawed NCLB standards.

A one-page fact sheet about the bill is available here. A more detailed fact sheet is available here.

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