News Releases

Murray Calls for President to Reverse Cuts to School Funds for Military

Feb 24 2003

This policy choice sends a terrible message to the men and women serving in uniform

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Sen. Patty Murray has called on the Administration to restore its planned cuts to educating children of men and women serving in the military.

The President's 2004 budget proposes a $175 million (12 percent) cut to Impact Aid, a federal initiative that provides federal education funding to school districts where the federal government is a significant landowner.

Washington state received $52 million in Fiscal Year 2002.

A text of the letter follows:

February 25, 2003

The Honorable George W. Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

These are challenging times for our nation and our armed forces. The men and women who have volunteered to serve our country in the military are being called up to defend our freedom at home and overseas to fight the War on Terrorism and a potential war in Iraq.

As the daughter of a World War II combat veteran and the first woman to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I have a special appreciation for the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.

Even as thousands of our soldiers, sailors and airmen are stationed around the world, thousands more are being called away from their homes for deployment. Especially at times like these, the men and women in the military deserve all the support a grateful nation can provide.

That is why I am shocked that you have proposed cutting funding to educate the children of our brave servicemen and women.

Your FY 2004 budget reduces funding for Impact Aid by $173 million. As you know, Impact Aid provides federal resources to local communities where the federal government is a significant landowner, to make up the lost property tax revenue that would have helped pay for schools and teachers.

Washington state received about $52 million in Impact Aid funding last year for the communities at Fort Lewis, McChord, Everett, Whidbey Island, Bangor, Fairchild, and, Bremerton.

One of the most dramatic examples of Impact Aid's success can be found in Medical Lake, Washington, whose school district serves the children of military families stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. For several years, military dependent students at Blair Elementary on Fairchild were forced to eat lunch in the hallways and endure leaking roofs, until Congress intervened in FY 2002 and, along with the State of Washington, funded construction of an elementary school for these children. Other military impacted school districts have similar, serious problems as they cannot tax federal properties within their school districts even though they are charged with educating federally connected children

But the budget cut you have proposed will eliminate over $6 million in my state alone to help educate students.

This policy choice sends a terrible message to the men and women serving in uniform. Their commander-in-chief should be squarely supporting them, not cutting education for their children.

Every parent wants the best for their children. Our men and women in uniform are no different, and they deserve no less.

I hope that you will honor the men and women of our military and will restore this cut to the education of their children.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray

United States Senator