Law & Courts

High Court to Hear Impact-Aid Case

By Jessica L. Tonn — December 12, 2006 2 min read

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a case filed by two New Mexico school districts that object to the way the U.S. secretary of education calculates which districts are eligible to receive impact aid for educating children who live on federal land or near federal installations.

In Zuni Public School District No. 89 v. Department of Education (Case No. 05-1508), the districts argue that the secretary violates a federal statute for determining which states can consider federal impact aid when allocating operating funds to districts. Both districts contain Indian reservation land.

The federal formula hinges on whether states have “equalized” funding systems, meaning that the disparity in per-pupil revenue between their wealthiest and poorest districts, excluding the top and bottom 5 percent, is less than 25 percent. A state with an equalized system can reduce funding to a district by the amount of the federal impact aid the district receives.

The districts contend that the secretary’s formula for determining therichest and poorest school systems contains an extraneous step that eliminates districts based on their attendance numbers. As a result, they say, 23 of the 89 districts in the state were eliminated even before the disparity test was applied, and the department unfairly labeled New Mexico as an equalized state.

According to the districts, the disparity between the richest and poorest districts is more than 25 percent when calculated by per-pupil revenues alone. By their calculation, only 10 school systems, should have been eliminated from the two ends of the scale.

Seeking Compensation

In its initial brief in the Supreme Court, the Bush administration defended the department’s procedure, saying that although the impact-aid statute sets forth the parameters for calculating state public education or revenues under the disparity test, the law does not contain a specific implementation of the disparity test.

The case is scheduled for arguments on Jan. 10.

See Also

The case comes against the backdrop of a push by Western states on the compensation issue. In Utah, educators are hoping that lawmakers will use the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act to change the definition of districts that can be compensated for having significant proportions of federal land within their boundaries.

Patti Harrington, Utah’s state superintendent of public instruction, sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, last month detailing her concerns about the No Child Left Behind Act, including the state’s loss of revenue from federal property.

“Utah recommends language such as: ‘When 50 percent or more of a school district’s land is owned by the federal government, this becomes an additional qualifier for impact-aid funding,’ ” she wrote.

A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2006 edition of Education Week as High Court to Hear Impact-Aid Case

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts How a Cheerleader's Snapchat Profanity Could Shape the Limits of Students' Free Speech
Brandi Levy's social media post is the basis for a case before the U.S. Supreme Court on whether schools may punish off-campus speech.
9 min read
Image of Brandi Levy.
Brandi Levy, now an 18-year-old college freshman, was a cheerleader at Mahanoy Area High School in Pennsylvania when she made profane comments on Snapchat that are now at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case on student speech rights.
Danna Singer/Provided by the American Civil Liberties Union
Law & Courts Student School Board Members Flex Their Civic Muscle in Supreme Court Free-Speech Case
Current and former student school board members add their growing voices to a potentially precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case.
7 min read
Image of the Supreme Court.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts Justice Department Memo Could Stoke State-Federal Fights Over Transgender Students' Rights
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, a Justice Department memo says.
3 min read
Stephanie Marty demonstrates against a proposed ban on transgender girls and women from female sports leagues outside the South Dakota governor's mansion in Pierre, S.D. on March 11, 2021.
Stephanie Marty demonstrates against a proposed ban on allowing transgender girls and women to play in female sports leagues outside the South Dakota governor's mansion in Pierre, S.D.
Stephen Groves/AP
Law & Courts Diverse Array of Groups Back Student in Supreme Court Case on Off-Campus Speech
John and Mary Beth Tinker, central to the landmark speech case that bears their name, argue that even offensive speech merits protection.
5 min read
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, Mary Beth Tinker, 61, shows an old photograph of her with her brother John Tinker to the Associated Press during an interview in Washington. Tinker was just 13 when she spoke out against the Vietnam War by wearing a black armband to her Iowa school in 1965. When the school suspended her, she took her free speech case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Her message: Students should take action on issues important to them. "It's better for our whole society when kids have a voice," she says.
In this 2013 photo, Mary Beth Tinker shows a 1968 Associated Press photograph of her with her brother John Tinker displaying the armbands they had worn in school to protest the Vietnam War. (The peace symbols were added after the school protest). The Tinkers have filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a Pennsylvania student who was disciplined for an offensive message on Snapchat.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP