Murray plan: Military-impacted schools need more cash

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) understands that school districts with a heavy population of military dependents — including those who have parents in the National Guard and Reserves — have unique issues to deal with and wants to help them out.

In a new proposal Murray will present as a part of the Senate’s Department of Defense Appropriations bill, Murray wants to see more funding go to those schools to help cover counseling and tutoring services.

The new round of base realignments looming and frequent deployments because of the war on terrorism are having a serious impact on local school districts — an impact that is both financial and emotional. If BRAC is approved, Naval Base Kitsap- Bremerton would also gain approximately 1,400 civilian personnel positions. There is no specific timeline for the gain.

What is already set in stone is that two Trident-class submarines, USS Louisiana and USS Maine, will arrive at Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor in October. The submarines are changing homeports from the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in St. Marys, Ga. Each submarine has a crew of about 330 crew members and an estimated annual payroll of $16 million.

The Defense Appropriations bill has to go through the same process as a regular bill and has to be signed by the president before any funding can go to the Defense Department.

In Murray’s plan, the funds would be in addition to heavy federal impact aid, which the school districts receive for each student who has a parent who is either in the military or works as a government contractor at one of the local military basis.

“Some school districts will have to cope with dramatic and rapid increase in enrollment,” stated a prepared release from Murray’s office. “They will need to hire new teachers and find new classroom space quickly — under tight budgets and without any additional federal support.”

The release also stated that “Studies show that children of military personnel often struggle academically while their parents are deployed overseas.

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