Facebook Twitter

DISTRICT COULD LOSE FEDERAL FUNDS

SHARE DISTRICT COULD LOSE FEDERAL FUNDS

The Duchesne School District could lose more than $150,000 in federal money coming to the school system because it is "federally impacted."

The U.S. House recently voted to eliminate federal funds that go to schools attended by students who live on federal land or whose parents are federal employees who work on federal lands. The Senate has approved the funds known as Public Law 874 - and the issue is now stuck in a House-Senate conference committee. But schools across the state are expecting to lose at least some - and maybe all - of the money.At stake for the Duchesne District is $176,000.

Phil Thompson, district clerk, said the money is paid to the district in lieu of property taxes. It goes into the district's general fund.

The possible loss of the revenue doesn't come as a surprise to the school district, which has seen a 50 percent decline in P.L. 874 money in just the past few years.

"The most we've ever received is $300,000 to $350,000. That was before the Bureau of Reclamation employees pulled out of Duchesne," Thompson said.

The federal government has given schools the money since the 1950s because they are "federally impacted" by government facilities that do not contribute to the local tax base.

The funds are classified and awarded by the number of 3-A students (in the Duchesne District's case, those who live on Indian trust lands) and the number of students classified as 3-B (those whose parent or guardian works on federal land).

"They have already about eliminated the funding for the 3-B students. And then a few years ago they required us to document all of our 3-A students. So we reduced the numbers we were claiming," Thompson said.

"They also reduced the funding formulas over the years, so it's steadily gone down. The 874 money has been uncertain for several years."

Approximately $8,000 to $10,000 of the $176,000 the district receives comes from the 3-B money. The remainder comes to the district through appropriated 3-A funds based primarily on the number of Native American students in the district, said Thompson.

Although funding is uncertain, the district has budgeted them in for the 1994-95 school year. They will send home surveys with students at the start of school next week to determine how much P.L. 874 money they will receive this year.

The State Board of Education says 23 Utah districts receive 874 funds. Both the Duchesne and Uintah School Districts are among the nine biggest beneficiaries in the state.