DOE Island County Impact Aid Records

Robert Teel filed this request with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Impact Aid Programs of the United States of America.
Status
Awaiting Acknowledgement

Communications

From: Robert Teel

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All records (including without limitation all contracts, agreements, correspondence, documents, statements, writings, emails, letters, memoranda, notes, transcriptions, reports, spreadsheets, appeals, assessments, real or personal tax bills, reassessments, appraisals; determinations of value, supporting documents, valuations, payments, payment slips, receipts, checks, drafts, and refunds) of every kind (mechanical, electronic, typed or written) in connection with assistance (including without limitation under Title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) to local Island County school districts for concentrations of children:

(a) residing on Naval Air Station Whidbey island, low-housing properties, Indian lands, or other Federal properties; and/or

(b) who have a parent in the uniformed services or employed on Naval Air Station Whidbey island who do not live on Federal property.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. Please consider this as the undersigned’s request for a fee waiver in accordance with 43 CFR 2.45(d). Set forth below is the information needed to support the request, meet the criteria, and justify entitlement for the waiver under applicable law.

I am a local advocate working through a U.S. based online journalism organization in connection with my research and investigation into the government's Impact Aid Law programs and the growing educational finance issues some call a crisis. It is important to understand the steps our government is taking to address the problem in its departmental operations and activities. Since 1950, Congress has provided financial assistance to local school districts through the Impact Aid Program. Impact Aid was designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children, including children living on military bases. Today, the funding for our childrens' education is an important issue and it is in the public interest to understand our government's programs, policies, and measures taken in this regard in its operations and activities.

Disclosure of the requested materials will inform the public, and contribute significantly to its understanding, of our government's actions in connection with the Impact Aid Law programs, policies, and measures. The public interest in these records goes beyond the Impact Aid Law, and is intended to contribute to the public’s understanding of what standards our government uses as a whole in its operations and activities and the public’s right to know about its functions and data in connection therewith.

I research and investigate issues in this subject area and intend to publish and disseminate one or more articles using these materials through both electronic and print media. The materials and information received will be immediately published on the website of the journalism organization MuckRock in order to encourage additional journalism around it.

To date, Muckrock has released over 1,300,000 pages of materials from over 9,000 fulfilled requests from over 6,800 government agencies. In the last twelve-month period, Muckrock received over one million (1,000,000) unique visitors to its website.

I am unaware of any prior public release of this information and the release of these materials will serve to greatly enhance the public level of understanding the government’s Impact Aid programs, policies, and measures through disclosure. Any gathering and disclosure of these newsworthy materials that furthers the public’s understand of the government’s role in helping the financial wellbeing of local school districts is of great, significant, legitimate public interest, and outweighs any potential commercial value or interest in these materials.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Robert Teel

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