The burden of a 30 billion dollar shortfall in the Department of Defense budget will soon be felt by some of our youngest Americans.
Principal Ft. Rucker Elementary Dr. Vicki Gilmer said, “We would love to have our kids here everyday. Everyday we would love to have our halls filled.”
But orders by the Secretary of Defense, will clear the schools on Fort Rucker for 5 days spread from August to September. The effort to make up some of the funds cut will affect nearly 200 Department of Defense Education Activity schools, two on Fort Rucker.
Dr. Gilmer said, “When the Secretary of Defense issued the furlough, there were 11 days initially. Fortunately we were able to reduce that for our teaching staff and our support staff to 5 days to lessen the impact on our students and military families.”
A silver lining in a pay cut for all DODEA employees. But even with the days off, Dr. Gilmer said, “The school year usually runs between 170 and 180 days throughout the 50 states. We have always done the max with 180 school days. This will give us 175 days which is a little bit less than we normally do, but still in that normal range.”
Dr. Gilmer says they will keep things normal, for students that are familiar with change.
”Every student is a new student. They all know what that is like because they have been the new student over and over again. And when a new child comes it is like ‘oh I just came from Germany’ and you hear ‘me too!’ It is amazing their lives are so unique and so precious and it really is an honor to serve the families that serve.”
And from the beginning of these tough budget times, Ft. Rucker has continued to say that changes are to be expected.
Ft. Rucker went through the accreditation process in April. Dr. Gilmer says even with the furloughs they will be able to maintain their accreditation.