WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., introduced legislation Friday to extend aid to school districts that have land within their borders owned by the federal government.
Kennewick, Richland and Sunnyside school districts all currently participate in the Impact Aid program, which qualifies districts for emergency construction grants, according to a release from Hastings' office.
Districts with students affected by federally-owned lands are eligible for the program. The federal government doesn't pay property taxes on its properties.
Hastings' proposed bill, the Rural Schools Fairness Act, would extend the Impact Aid program to help any school district where 10 percent of the property is under federal ownership. It would not increase funding for the program.
"I have heard far too many stories about schools in Central Washington that are unable to address serious safety risks because they do not have the tax base to secure a construction bond, and I believe it is past time for the federal government to step up its commitments to these students," Hastings said in the release.