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Courtney’s Bill to Protect Educational Impact Aid for Military Schoolchildren Passes Senate, Delivered to White House for Signature

November 12, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney’s (CT-02) bipartisan bill to safeguard Educational Impact Aid for military schoolchildren amid the pandemic was passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate, and delivered to the White House to be signed into law. Rep. Courtney’s Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act (H.R. 8472) would ensure that Federal Impact Aid for public school districts with high concentrations of children of U.S. servicemembers will not be adversely affected by COVID-19. Courtney’s bipartisan bill was first introduced on August 25th, and was passed in the House by unanimous consent on October 2nd.

“Eastern Connecticut is home to lots of military families with school-aged children, and their schools were at risk of losing this federal support at the worst possible time due to COVID-19,” said Congressman Courtney. “Without our bipartisan bill, schools like Groton and Ledyard in particular would have lost significant funding, and would have essentially been penalized for their decision to adopt remote and hybrid learning. Our eastern Connecticut schools absolutely could not afford to lose this funding for military schoolchildren, especially while local budgets are stretched so thin due to the pandemic. I’m grateful to my partner Rep. Dusty Johnson from Oklahoma for joining me to introduce this bipartisan bill, and for all our colleagues who helped work across the aisle to get this done. We’re looking forward to getting a final signature on this important win for our local schools.”

Amid the complexity of returning to school this fall, many schools are worried that they will be unable to get an accurate headcount of eligible students, and that they will receive less funding than they deserve from the Impact Aid program as a result. Courtney’s bipartisan bill requires the U.S. Department of Education to use last year’s census of children of servicemembers when calculating the funding amount that local school districts will receive for the new 2021 school year.

Rep. Courtney is a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, and of the House Armed Services Committee. He first introduced H.R. 8472 on August 25th, and was joined by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) as an original co-sponsor. The Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act was passed in the House by unanimous consent on Friday, October 2nd. Today, the Senate voted by unanimous consent to pass S. 4063, the Senate companion to Rep. Courtney’s House bill, and the legislation was delivered to the White House for signature.

On October 8th, following passage of Courtney’s bill in the House, Courtney met with Dr. Michael Graner, Superintendent of Groton Public Schools, and Jason Hartling, Superintendent of Ledyard Public Schools, to discuss their need for more federal support amid COVID-19, and the status of the bill in the Senate. “This bill is enormously important to Groton; the Town depends on the Impact Aid Grant to support the education of over 1,000 military dependents,” stated Groton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Graner. Click here to learn more.

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