The Arlington school board may consider charging tuition for the 229 children in county schools whose parents live and work on Fort Myer if Congress passes legislation eliminating federal impact aid funds.
Arlington has budgeted a total of $929,000 in such funds for the next school year, but will get none if the pending legislation passes.
The board deferred action on the tuition issue at its meeting last week, preferring to await the outcome of a Monday meeting between state school district superintendents and Virginia education and legal officials.
Arlington's acting superintendent, J. Boyd Webb, who attended the meeting recommended the board postpone any decision until Congress acts.
Fairfax County already has told Fort Belvoir officials that it intends to close three county-run, on-post schools and charge tuition to all students whose parents live and work on the post if the proposed legislation is passed.
"The consensus (of the superintendents) was that if it was possible to get a political resolution of the controversy, that would be much, much more desirable than going the legal route," Webb said.The Defense Department has said it may challenge in court the constitutionality of tuition charges.
"There's not much you can do until Congress decides what they're going to do about impact aid," Webb added. "You won't know until then if you're going to lose more than 50 percent of your aid."
Fearing the loss of impact aid, the Virginia legislature last session authorized localities to charge tuition to military families living and working on post if impact aid falls below 50 percent of the per capita cost of educating their children in public schools. Virginia residents would be exempt.
The Reagan administration, however, has proposed to reduce or eliminate "impact aid" funds, federal money that compensates localities for property and other taxes lost because of untaxable federal property in their district.
Impact aid comes in two categories: "A" for those districts serving children whose parents both live and work on federal property, and "B" for districts educating children whose parents -- both civilian and military -- live on private property but work on federal property.
The administration proposes to eliminate the B funds and limit the A funds to only those districts where at least 20 percent of the children live on post.
Arlington students who live at Fort Myer -- the category A students -- account for only 1.6 percent of the county's total 15,146 enrollment. If impact aid were to remain at current levels, the cost to educate these children would account for nearly $445,000 of the anticipated $929,000, Webb said.
In addition, there are 517 children from militry families who fall under category B. The number of Arlington students with civilian parents working at such federal installations as the Pentagon or National Airport is not known.