Bill would increase funding for Impact Aid, Growler research

Oak Harbor School District may get increased Impact Aid and Navy may get more money to research ways to make EA-18G Growlers quieter in the future.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Arlington, a member of the Housed Armed Services Committee, sent out a statement Thursday about provisions he was able to secure in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which now heads to the House for a vote.

According to a press release, Larsen was able to include $40 million in Impact Aid payments to schools that serve military students.

For the Oak Harbor School District, the proposed increase could mean as much as $150,000 in additional funding, according to the school district.

“The committee’s work is definitely worth applauding,” a statement released by the school district said.

“We hope this bill will be successful as it comes up for a vote in the House and, hopefully, the Senate.”

School officials noted that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have also supported Impact Aid.

“It’s too early to tell what this will mean specifically for Oak Harbor, but we will be watching closely as the bill progresses,” the statement reads.

Larsen included an amendment to increase budget authority by $2.5 million for research into reductions in engine noise for the Super Hornet and Growler aircraft.

“Noise reductions for the Super Hornet and Growler will help sailors working in close proximity to aircraft and communities near these squadrons,” Larsen’s press release states.

Many residents in the area surrounding Outlying Field Coupeville, which is part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, have complained about the noise from the Growlers.

The Navy has been investigating technologies that would either dampen the noise or make practice less frequent.

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