Camden school superintentent to testify to Congress

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Will Hardin

Camden County's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Will Hardin, will testify next week before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

Hardin will speak on behalf of the nation's schools serving students and families impacted by a significant federal presence.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, who chairs the committee, chose Hardin to speak about the importance of the Impact Aid program to the 1,300 school districts nationwide whose tax base is diminished by federal activities such as military installation, Indian trust land, VA hospitals, national parks, etc.

The Impact Aid program provides payments in lieu of local taxes for property which, were it not for the non?taxable status of federal land, would generate revenue for schools educating children in these communities.

Due to the presence of Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base -- which encompasses 16,994 acres of Camden County -- the school district is deemed a Heavily Impacted district.  Nearly 40 percent of the 9,100 students in Camden County public schools are associated with the Navy.  According to the tax digest, 69 percent of the value of land in the county in 2009 was except from property taxes due to government ownership.

Nationally, the 1,350 school districts receiving Impact Aid serve 950,000 federally connected students and have a combined enrollment of over 12 million children.

Hardin will testify at a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.  Since Hardin serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, the association will pay for Hardin's expenses for the trip to Washington, D.C.

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