Rep. Kristi Noem was honored this week by more than 50 South Dakota school administrators for her "outstanding contributions to the Impact Aid Program." Noem was awarded the Friend of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools Award for her years-long effort to protect the program, which provides payments from the federal government to local school districts to make up for local taxes lost on account of a federal presence within their school districts, such as military bases and federal land like Indian Reservations or federal grasslands. More than 30 South Dakota school districts are Impact Aid districts.

Pictured from left to right: Chad Blotsky, Hilary Goldmann, Rep. Kristi Noem,  Trista Hedderman, Jocelyn Bissonnett

“Impact Aid helps ensure we maintain a level playing field for all South Dakota school districts," said Noem. "Going to school near Ellsworth Air Force Base or one of South Dakota's nine Indian Reservations shouldn't limit classroom resources. I'm grateful for this generous award and will continue to fight so classrooms have the resources our kids need to succeed."

“Every time Impact Aid school districts needed assistance, Rep. Noem was there to help successfully lead the charge,” said Jamie Hermann, President of Impact Schools of South Dakota. “From the first meeting with her, she recognized the federal government’s financial obligation to school districts that have a decreased tax base due to the federal government ownership of the land.”

Noem chairs the bipartisan House Impact Aid Caucus and is a long-time supporter of the program. In March, Noem successfully led more than 100 Members of Congress in urging the Appropriations Committee to preserve Impact Aid funding for fiscal year 2019. They wrote: “Often, these school districts are located in rural areas with few taxpayers and where administrators double as bus drivers, teachers, and coaches. These dollars provide a foundational education program for all students; many schools would close their doors without the support of Impact Aid.”

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