Today public school students are scheduled to bring home a federal census survey card to be filled out by parents and returned to school the following day.
The annual survey determines the number of federally-connected students in the public school system for whom the state receives federal impact aid funds. These funds provide partial reimbursement to the state for local tax loss resulting from tax-free federal installations being located in a school district.
Each survey card is important because federal impact aid is determined from the survey card responses. Hawai‘i’s public schools receive a significant amount of federal funding for federally-connected students.
“Especially during these times of state budget difficulties, federal impact aid is an increasingly important part of our education budget,” state Department of Education Superintendent Patricia Harnamoto said in a press release. “We encourage all parents to promptly fill out and return the survey cards to help our public schools benefit from every federal dollar that we are entitled to receive.”
During the 2002-03 school year, the state counted more than 30,000 federally-connected students and received nearly $48 million in federal impact aid, or an average of approximately $1,600 per student. This represents about 21 percent of the state’s average per-pupil expenditure of $7,626, as tallied in the 2001-02 school year.