POLITICS
04/11/2013 04:08 pm ET | Updated Apr 11, 2013

Defense Department Schools Memo: Furlough Days Nixed For This School Year

For the last few months, teachers in America's military schools have scrambled to understand how across-the-board cuts to the Department of Defense, or sequestration, would affect their schools.

Like other military employees, teachers expected furloughs. Parents wondered whether there would be school on Fridays or doubled up classrooms. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), which administers the schools, had no solid answers until now.

On Thursday, in a memo obtained by The Huffington Post, DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald wrote that there would be no furlough days for the remainder of the school year. Frank O'Gara, DoDEA's communications chief, confirmed that the memo was sent.

Since the DOD delayed making its furlough determinations, Fitzgerald wrote, there will be "no furlough days for our 9.5-month employees (e.g., teachers, school nurse, counselors) during the remainder of School Year 2012-13." Teachers and families will likely be relieved by this news, because, "there will be no instructional loss this school year, and schools will remain open and in full operation."

Before the memo was sent out, teachers worried that students would lose preparation time for standardized tests, the SATs and Advanced Placement exams.

"The teachers are putting on a brave face for the kids because we know that it's stressing them out as well," Bettylou Cummins, a teacher on Ramstein Air Base in Germany, previously told HuffPost about the sequestration confusion. "We're worried because if our year is shortened, what are we going to leave out? I have my syllabus, and I have certain authors I teach. Do I have to leave out subjects or verbs?"

If schools convene for too few school days in a year, they can lose accreditation -- an outcome that often hurts seniors' college applications significantly.

But the DOD is still planning some furlough notices, Fitzgerald wrote, likely in mid-May. She's not sure yet how they will affect the next school year.

"Our furlough planning for School Year 2013-14 will provide for a full-year of academic credit for students and maintain school accreditation standards," she wrote. "We still hope that Congress will pass a deficit reduction package that the President can sign and permit a de-triggering of sequestration."

Read the full memo below.

From: Fitzgerald, Marilee Ms. SES OSD/DoDEA 
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:15 PM
Subject: RE: Furlough Update - #6

Team,

This is an update to my Furlough #5 email.  That message announced DoD's decision to reduce the number of proposed civilian furlough days to no more than 14 days for 12 month employees; delay issuing proposed notices of furlough to employees until early to mid-May; and begin any proposed furloughs not before mid to late June.   

Although we have not received any additional information about how DoDEA schools will be affected by a proposed furlough, DoD's delay will result in no furlough days for our 9.5 month employees (e.g., teachers, school nurse, counselors) during the remainder of School Year 2012-13.  Thus, there will no instructional loss this school year, and schools will remain open and in full operation.  For 12-month employees, the proposed furlough days remain at up to 14 days.  DoD's proposed furlough schedule has not changed.  The proposed notices of furlough are still delayed until about early to mid-May and proposed furloughs cannot begin any sooner than mid to late June.  

We do not know how a proposed furlough will affect our 11-month employees, (e.g., principals), and how a potential furlough will affect the beginning of School Year 2013-14.  As soon as we have any additional information, I will let you know.  I want to assure you that our furlough planning for School Year 2013-14 will provide for a full-year of academic credit for students and maintain school accreditation standards.  We still hope that Congress will pass a deficit reduction package that the President can sign and permit a de-triggering of sequestration.  

Take care.  

Marilee Fitzgerald
Director
DoD Education Activity

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

What Sequestration Would Cut
Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?

CONVERSATIONS