Davis County schools may have to make do next year without $1 million in federal impact aid - that program may be a casualty of the fashionable cost-cutting attitude in Washington, D.C.

"Congress is under a tremendous amount of pressure to make cuts," said John Forkenbrock, executive director of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools. "It's pretty much a bipartisan thing."Since 1950, the federal government has contributed to the Davis school budget in proportion to the number of schoolchildren of Hill Air Force Base workers.

The aid is designed to make up funding shortfalls from military personnel, who are exempt from paying many state and local taxes that fund school budgets.

The federal government gave $718 million this year to 2,100 "impacted" schools - those having military, low income or American Indian children. That is down from $798 million in the previous year.

President Clinton's proposed budget this year sets impact aid at $619 million - a $109 million cut. He and some powerful congressmen want to slash that figure further - or eliminate it completely.

"The political winds are changing," Davis Schools Superintendent Richard Kendall said. "I think (impact aid) is more in jeopardy now than it has been just because of the climate back there."

Rep. John Kasich, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Budget Committee, makes no bones about his desire to phase out federal impact aid over the next five years. Regarding the aid, Kasich was quoted in the Jan. 18 issue of the Bellevue (Neb.) Leader as saying, "Two words - it's gone."

Forkenbrock said every president since Dwight Eisenhower has slashed federal impact aid in his budget proposals, but previous Congresses have usually put it back in because a great many senators and representatives have military bases in their districts.

"Impact aid has nine lives plus," he said.

Utah Rep. Jim Hansen, whose district includes Davis, supports reducing (but not eliminating) impact aid if it is a part of a larger deficit-reduction package, said his legislative assistant, Rita Ogden.

"He realizes that all programs will be cut when cuts have to be made," Ogden said.

The $1 million in federal impact aid may seem insignificant compared with the Davis School District's $188 million operating budget, but $1 million is a lot of money any way you slice it, Kendall said.

"It really does make a lot of difference," he said. "Trying to find a million dollars in a school district is really tough."

Davis schools took a big hit three years ago when the percentage of students with parents working at Hill dipped just below 20 percent of the student body - the level required to keep the district in a high-fund classification. With only 19.6 percent of impacted children in an enrollment of about 60,000, impact aid to Davis dropped from $1.8 million to its present level.

With continuing personnel reductions at Hill, the percentage of impacted students is likely to decrease further, to say nothing of the scenario if the base is closed.

Davis and Weber narrowly survived another major cut last year, which went to the traditional classification of "A" and "B" students.

According to the statute, "A" students have military parents who live on base and are exempt from paying property, sales or state income taxes. "B" students have parents who simply work at the base and pay taxes like anybody else.

Last year, Congress removed aid for "B" students. There was, however, an exception: If a school district had more than 2,000 "B" students, which comprised at least 15 percent of the student population, they could still get "B" student aid.

Out of 2,100 districts nationwide, 18 squeezed into the exception. Davis and Weber were two of them.

Kendall strongly objects to excluding the "B" students, who count toward impact aid to a district on the theory that, even though the students' parents pay taxes, military bases take space that could otherwise be used for property tax-paying businesses.

Ogden said eliminating the "B" students completely "may be a good approach to take" when looking for the least painful ways to cut the program, but he said Hansen hasn't considered the issue carefully.

If the worst happens and impact aid is eliminated completely, Kendall said, the district would absorb the loss by cutting back on a broad spectrum of programs.