Davis School District appears to have escaped a financial nightmare that's plaguing thousands of school districts across the nation.
A legislative snafu threatens to cut millions of dollars in federal "impact aid" to 2,600 districts nationwide - money administrators use to pay teachers and fund basic educational programs.Davis was supposed to receive $1.2 million this year from the aid program - which is designed to make up for property tax revenues lost from tax-exempt military installations located within the districts' boundaries. In Davis County's case, that installation is Hill Air Force Base.
The snafu is the result of a complicated congressional lawmaking procedure that eventually resulted in the federal Education Department losing its authority to write checks for the impact funding. Several districts across the nation have laid off employees to cover their losses or taken out expensive loans to meet basic expenses.
But quick action by Davis administrators has likely secured at least 95 percent of the district's $1.2 million allotment, said Charles E. Hansen, director of the U.S. Education Department's impact-aid program.
Hansen said he will likely have authority under a "continuing resolution" to send usual allotments to about 200 districts that sent early applications for the funding. Davis was one of the early birds.
Districts that didn't get applications in early or don't make an Oct. 29 deadline will have to wait for department officials to ram a corrective bill through Congress.
Times could be tough if, for some reason, Davis didn't get its usual allotment.
"It would have serious impact. We'd have to reduce our budget, maybe make it up by dipping into capital outlay," said Roger Glines, district business administrator. "But we're counting on getting it."
Capital outlay is money set aside for construction of new schools or improvements to existing buildings.
Glines was reluctant to say teacher salaries and benefits - nearly 90 percent of the district's budget - would be cut if the funding doesn't materialize.
The impact funding is so important to the district that school board members voted to raise taxes by 4.2 percent earlier this year when the government announced the district's allotment was cut by more than $1 million.