FORT RUCKER, Ala. –The Department of Defense’s Aug. 6 decision to reduce unpaid civilian furloughs from 11 days down to six days, means some essential Fort Rucker entities are soon to return to their previous schedules.
Previously closed gates will reopen, Fort Rucker youngsters will get their school days back and the commissary will resume normal hours next week.
The Faulkner and Newton gates closed when the furloughs started, but Lt. Col. Madeline Bondy, director of the Directorate of Public Safety, said that with DOD’s change the Faulkner Gate and the Newton Gate will reopen Monday, Aug. 19; however, there is construction ongoing at both gates.
The hours for Faulkner and Newton will be 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays. Bondy advised people to keep an eye on the gate status section of the www.rucker.army.mil website – it’s on the right-hand side of the main page. Due to the ongoing construction of the Newton gate, hours there could be minimally impacted.
The Department of Defense Education Activity originally intended to shorten the school year for the Fort Rucker Primary and Elementary schools by five days each because of the furloughs, but because of the reduction, that is no longer necessary, according to Dr. Christy Cabezas, superintendent for the DODEA Georgia-Alabama School District.
The schools were originally scheduled to take furlough days on Aug. 23 and 26, and Sept. 9, 26 and 27, but now get all of those days back, with the exception of Aug. 26, which becomes the staff professional development day originally scheduled for Aug. 27 and that day becomes a school day.
“We’re back to the full year again – 180 school days,” Cabazas said. “Everyone’s thrilled, obviously for several reasons. It doesn’t affect their pay, and also the value in having students a full 180 days – we were going to have to plan on cutting fun activities to make up for instructional time that was going to be lost.”