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That yellow card is worth some green

NKSD urges parents to return impact aid forms.

POULSBO — Every smidgen of funding the North Kitsap School District can garnish or qualify for is more important now than ever.

Last spring NKSD had to shave $2.8 million to balance its budget. This year an additional $1.3 million must be cut from an already barren general fund.

One way districts across the nation score a little federal funding is through filing impact aid surveys with the U.S. Department of Education.

Because federal properties don’t pay property tax or any portion of levies, the federal government developed the impact aid program in lieu of property tax payments, said NKSD’s Director of Finance Nancy Moffatt.

NKSD collects a specific amount of federal funding for students whose parent is on active duty in the military, is living or working on federal property, is living or working on Indian Trust Land, is living in federally subsidized housing.

According to an impact aid report compiled by Moffatt in March, “Impact aid student count is the basis for federal funds being provided to the district.”

To receive full impact aid funding the district must get as many surveys sent off to Washington, D.C., in January. Of NKSD’s approximate 6,750 students, about 700 hadn’t returned their impact aid survey card, as of Friday.

Last year NKSD received $817,143 impact aid dollars.

“The beauty of impact aid funds is they go into the general fund and can be used for anything general fund money is used for, whereas most federal funds have very tight strings attached,” Moffatt said. “It is a big chunk of our budget. Eight hundred thousand is nothing to sneeze at and it’s very important to our district.”

Jen Menne, the district’s information systems specialists lead, who’s in charge of rounding up the surveys said, it’s unusual for NKSD to be short 700 cards.

Menne’s been calling parents of students whose survey hasn’t been turned in and this week the district will be using its Alertnow phone messaging system to get the word out about the missing cards.

“It’s very important, especially in budget shortfalls,” Menne said.

She said the Central Kitsap School District of approximately 12,000 students is going through the same process as NKSD, but CKSD was only missing 200 cards as of Friday. Moffatt understands some may view the surveys as an invasion of privacy, but that’s just not the case, she said.

“Many folks don’t understand it’s just to make up for lost property taxes,” Moffatt said. “Every once in a while we get a call from somebody who was upset at having to fill out the card. But it’s revenue for their children.”

If the yellow survey card has been lost and a replacement is needed or for questions call Jen Menne, (360) 779-8792.

“If you’ve turned your card in don’t call, you’re OK,” Menne said.

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