FORT BENNING, Ga., (May 29, 2013) -- Like the rest of the military, the Department of Defense Education Activity has been affected by budget cuts effecting more than 18,000 DoDEA employees -- including teachers, and 84,000 children nationally and overseas, said Marilee Fitzgerald, DoDEA director. So how will this affect the upcoming school year?

Department of Defense civilians will be furloughed up to 11 days, however, DoDEA employees who work nine months during a year -- mainly teachers -- will take up to five furlough days mainly in September, Fitzgerald said. On those days, schools will be closed. The furloughs among all DoDEA employees will save an estimated $23 million.

"We certainly don't underestimate the great financial and emotional strain that a furlough action places on all our employees, and the additional strain that it places on our students and their educational programs," Fitzgerald said, adding that DoDEA has been making efforts to lessen the impact of the sequestration and furloughs on students.

Afterschool activities, tests, such as the Advanced Placement exams and end-of-year exams, graduations and summer school are affected by the furloughs, according to DoDEA's website. Sports schedules could be disrupted, but principals will publish information locally.

Every effort, Fitzgerald said, was made to ensure schools did not risk losing accreditation and that children had a full school year of academic credit.

"Educating our students, teaching and learning -- that's our business," she said. "And so, any effort that we've made has been dedicated to that guiding principle of minimizing the impact on our children. And through this process, as we plan with the Department of Defense leaders, our goal was to preserve the accreditation of our schools, ensure that we provide a full academic credit for our children, and again, to ensure a quality education for all of our children."

Furlough decisions regarding how it would affect the education of school children was not easy, Fitzgerald said, because of the "high value" DoD places on education.

"They looked at this as an investment and not as an expense, and they continue to ensure that the DoDEA schools, specifically, were funded sufficiently to perform their missions in an extraordinary way and provide an extraordinary education to our children," she said. "So, I think it was -- the fact that they even had to do it at all, I think, makes some statement about how difficult the financial situation is for the department."

For more information about a particular school's furlough days, contact the individual school or check their website, Fitzgerald said.

For more information about DoDEA furloughs, visit www.dodea.edu/Budget/index1.cfm.

Page last updated Thu May 30th, 2013 at 00:00