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Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am Charlie Akins, Superintendent of the Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I am honored to appear before a Committee that has had unparalleled effect in bringing about needed reform and improvement in public education. I thank you for being allowed the opportunity to make this statement.

I have been associated with the Hardin County Schools in various capacities for the past 25 years, serving in the position of Superintendent for the last seven years. Throughout this period of service, I have also been closely associated with the nature of the federal impact situation in our area as a result of the military installation at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In my opinion, this situation, except for some changes in the numbers of students involved, basically remains the same as it did

in 1952.

Each succeeding Congress since the 81st has analyzed impact aid and has determined that the circumstances prompting the establishment of this aid deserved and justified continued federal assistance. The wisdom and concern of the Congress over these years has helped the Hardin County Schools to survive and maintain a reasonable school program for the thousands of mobile, federally connected students who have moved through our school system over these many years.

For the sake of brevity, I do not wish to explore all the problems that are imposed on local school districts as a result of their close proximity to a large military installation. I do, however, wish to emphasize four areas that constitute continuing difficultues for such school systems. It is imperative to the very existence of school programs such as ours that these problems be addressed by some level of government other than the local school district. Since the pressures are placed on the local schools by federal activity, I believe it is logical for us to conclude that

the federal government must concern itself with a solution to these difficulties for so long as the following conditions continue to exist.

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there is a most definite lack of realistic state equalization of financial resources per pupil. According to the latest figures available, the disparity ranges from the state high per pupil expenditure of $1,259 to a low of $430. Hardin County, with a per pupil expenditure of $762, is some $70 below the state average per pupil expenditure of $832. I admit that if Kentucky had true state equalization of educational funds, there would be no need for the existence of federal impact aid to the local educational agency. Although there is a move underway to initiate equalization in Kentucky, it will be many years before this is completely achieved.

In addition, local school districts in Kentucky depend heavily on local property taxes for a substantial portion of their total revenue per pupil. The average in the state of Kentucky shows that local revenue makes up 33.7 per cent of total receipts with state revenue supplying 51.6 per cent and federal revenue 14.7 per cent. Because of major diversities in the amount of assessment per child, this dependence on local property taxes perpetuates an uneven distribution of revenue per pupil across the state. The tendency of P. L. 874 3(B) catagory student population to dilute the local property tax assessment per pupil furthers and adds to this


The situation in the Fort Knox area, because of the concentration of 3(B) students, is a good example of the local dilution of tax base. With the exception of the per cent of school population being federally connected, the school districts in our area share very common assets. The following table shows the assessments per pupil in the school districts surrounding Fort Knox and Hardin County.

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Because of the presence of industry and commercial development in the area of Elizabethtown in Hardin County that does not exist in such counties as Green and Breckinridge, I contend that our assessment per pupil, if it were not for impact, should exceed the assessments for both Green and Breckinridge counties. It is also significant that Meade County and Hardin County are the only districts with high percentages of federal impact pupils.

Because of the mobile nature of many of the federally connected families, I feel that their presence reduces the local property tax assessment per pupil in the following manner.


Hardin County has the greatest number of mobile homes per capita of any county in Kentucky. We have 3,520 trailers located in 183 trailer parks. Some 85 per cent of these parks are located within a fifteen minute drive of the Fort Knox post. Over 1,000 additional mobile homes are located on lots and small farms, the majority of which are situated in the north end of the county adjacent to the military post. The

tax assessor's office reports that slightly over 50 per cent of these mobile homes appear on the tax rolls. One of his major problems is the ownership of these mobile homes by military personnel. The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act and Kentucky's classification of mobile homes as personal property allows military personnel to be exempt from the local property tax levy. In the event a mobile home is on the tax rolls, it would generate an average school tax payment of $18.88.

Federally connected families, because of the limited term of their expected stay in the district, tend to be renters rather than owners of residential property. The value of available rental property is substantially less than the average value of residential property occupied by the owner. These major factors concerning the housing of impact families continue to keep our revenue per pupil one of the very lowest in the nation at $762 for FY 76.


Several thousand residents of Hardin County work on post in government facilities worth millions of dollars but, because of government ownership, no local school tax is paid on the wealth at this point of employment. In a normal situation, close to 50 per cent of the school district's property tax revenue is derived from taxes on property connected with points of employment. On these people, our only major source of revenue is from taxation connected with their residence.

In the area adjacent to Fort Knox, where approximately 80 per cent of our impact population reside, we find commercial and service property development being dictated by commercial and service activities conducted on post. Businesses that one would expect to find in a normal city of 14,000 to 18,000 do not exist. In the RadcliffVine Grove area, medical facilities are practically absent, hardly any entertainment and recreational establishments exist, and an extremely small number of retail businesses are operating for a community this size. Also, industry is noticably absent in the


Commercial development in the community cannot pay local taxes and compete with these same types of businesses that operate tax free on the military post. Further serving to discourage commercial and service development is the fact that many impact families have remained in this area upon retirement to use their post privileges. This directly affects the commercial assessments and the total tax base for the school district.

Couples who come to the Fort Knox area because of the federal activity do so for employment opportunities during their working years. Most of these couples are of an age to have school age children. This has a tendency to increase the average number of children per family in the district above the average, thus making a further contribution to the dilution of the tax base per student.

Hardin County has been faced with providing school programs and facilities for an everchanging student population. Changes made by the Department of Defense for military or other reasons have brought about sudden changes in the numbers and makeup of the 3(B) impact student population. As an example of this, the elimination of the draft and its effects on the administration of on-post family housing in 1973 and 1974 resulted in a net loss in the northern half of Hardin County of 162 students in grades 1-7 during this period and an increase of 281 students in grades 8-12. Prior to this period, our impact population was heavily in grades 1-4.

Another prime example would be the reactivation of the 194th Armored Brigade. In February of 1976, this brigade was operating at 30 per cent strength. By December, 1976, it had been increased to 111 per cent of normal brigade strength. This action was largely responsible for creating an increase of 206 students in the immediate area of the post.

In addition to this, we suffer shifts of total numbers from year to year and some

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