COMPARISONS OF MILITARY-RELATED
AND CIVILIAN SCHOOL DISTRICTS
A key issue for military parents is how the learning opportunities available to their children compare to those for other children. A military base may strain local resources for funding schools, because local taxpayers may be unwilling or unable to pay extra taxes to educate the military children. The goal of Impact Aid is to defray the costs of these military children and to ensure that federally connected LEAs are not forced to diminish the scope of their educational services. If Impact Aid funding is sufficient to provide militaryimpacted districts with a fair access to funding resources, then these districts should be able to provide educational services comparable to other districts with few or no military children. This chapter compares resource decisions by LEAs with and without military children and assesses whether military-impacted districts are resource poor. The resource measures are LEA expenditures per pupil and the pupil-teacher ratio in the district. The chapter also examines the quality of schooling available in military-related districts and other districts in the same area. An important policy issue is whether military children have access to high-quality schools. The analysis compares districtwide test scores in areas near a military installation with scores in other parts of the same state.
The chapter provides insights into interdistrict patterns of resource use and test scores, but it does not address potentially important intradistrict differences. Education researchers have acknowledged that resources may not be spread evenly within LEAs, but there is little measurement of these differences (Goldhaber and Brewer, 1997). For example, some schools in a district may have a higher pupil