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Military ChildBy Danielle Gamiz

Staff Writer

Parents of children who attend U.S. Department of Defense schools are still wondering how federal budget cuts might affect the remainder of the school year.

With just a handful of weeks left until summer break, there are plenty of rumors but no concrete plans about how the schedule might be re-shaped by 14 mandatory furlough days for civilian employees who work for the schools.

“We have heard absolutely nothing,” said Mary, a mother of children who attend Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools near her husband’s duty station in Jacksonville, N.C.

Two of the couple’s three children attend DoDEA middle and high schools, where there has been talk of taking days off of school or combining classes to compensate for the days classroom teachers may be required to take off.

Although the defense department reported last month that furloughs would start mid-to-late June, officials are still working to determine which employees might be exempted.

 

According to the DoDEA Web site, furloughs would happen over seven two-week pay periods until the end of September, when the current fiscal year ends. Employees likely would be told not to come to work for two days during each of those pay periods.

 

This has left parents of some 84,000 DoDEA school children worldwide with many questions.

Mary has been in contact with her local school administrators, but has heard no concrete plans for this or next school year.

“I am very concerned about furlough days. All we have are rumors. It would be nice if we could know the plan,” Mary said during a recent interview.

(Mary preferred to leave her last name out of this article to protect her family’s privacy.)

Mary would hate to see class sizes increase in her son’s middle school even for just a few days and wonders how her daughter’s eight-student, advanced placement English class would continue if that teacher were furloughed.

In spite of the uncertainty around how furlough days could impact the DoDEA schools for this and future school years, Mary doesn’t intend to transfer her children to other schools in their community.

Mary and her husband decided to extend their orders so their children could finish middle and high school before the family’s next transfer.

 

Furlough days are part of broader government cost-saving measures known as sequestration — $85 billion in mandatory agency spending reductions this year, including $42.7 billion in cuts for the military alone.

If there’s one thing Mary wants people to understand about sequestration, it’s that military spending cuts impact not just the troops, but also their families.

“(They think) we’re cutting back on bullets and planes. They’re not thinking about the families and how much the schools are being impacted,” she said.

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Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.

Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com).

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For more of Danielle’s blogs and sequestration articles, please see Danielle’s page and our sequestration headquarters.

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