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Defense Department schools are deciding which days their schools will be closed for the required furloughs this fall and should start posting the information on their websites next week, said Marilee Fitzgerald, director of the Department of Defense Education Activity.
The 194 schools around the world will be closed up to five days, starting in September, to carry out furloughs required by DoD as a result of sequestration budget cuts.
Teachers, counselors and other employees on a nine-month work schedule face five days without pay. All other employees will take 11 furlough days, like most other defense civilian employees. That includes, for example, school principals and staff at DoDEA headquarters.
The furloughs for about 12,500 DoDEA employees will save DoD about $23 million, Fitzgerald said. Of those, about 11,000 are nine-month employees. Employees who are not on nine-month work schedules will begin taking their 11 furlough days no earlier than July 8.
Sports and other extra-curricular activities can still take place, as long as the activities are after school hours, Fitzgerald said, noting that principals are trying to avoid canceling sporting events.
Fitzgerald suggested that parents facing child care problems contact their child development services office on base for information on alternatives. Child development centers are exempt from furloughs and will remain open. Although openings are not always available, child care officials have information on other options.
DoDEA’s goal is to preserve the accreditation of its schools and not compromise the quality of children’s education, Fitzgerald said. Officials schedule 183 days for instruction, and children must be in class a minimum of 175 days. Extra days for weather-related closings are factored into the 183 days.
Fitzgerald noted that DoDEA teachers are skillful at working to minimize disruptions in the lives of military children, and that includes weaving in extra academic support where possible. “We’ll do the right thing by these children each and every day they’re with us,” she said.
Parents should check their school’s website for more information on their particular schedule. Some schools will start posting the information as early as the last week in May, Fitzgerald said. For more information and links to schools’ websites, visit www.dodea.edu.