School Allowance Expands Choices Overseas
By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 1999 Military families stationed where there are no Defense Department schools now receive an allowance to send their children to a private or boarding school of their choice.
Most of the military personnel affected serve at U.S. embassies, said Jerald Bloom, chief of policy and legislation at the DoD Education Activity, the school system's administrative headquarters. The largest population is in Europe, followed by South America, Australia and the Pacific.
The new allowance was included in the 1999 Defense Authorization Act and mirrors the allowance offered State Department employees. The Department of State Standardized Regulations, Sections 031.1 and 277.2, outline how the educational allowance will be given to military members. This information can be found on the Web at www.state.gov/www/perdiems/dssr/regs299.html#Grant.
Previously, the government only paid for military family members to attend schools certified by DoDEA, which means they'd been inspected and approved as offering education comparable to that of DoD schools. The education activity must approve the curriculum and the quality of the faculty, ensure instruction is in English and resolve a number of other issues.
Military members paid out of pocket to send children to noncertified schools.
Education activity officials said DoD military and civilian personnel requested the change because they wanted choice and more flexibility. Some, for instance, served in areas with no certified local schools. The certification program will end once the new program is in full effect, they said.
Educational allowances cover tuition costs and are paid directly to schools, not to members. The allowance doesn't cover personal expenses such as uniforms, laundry and meals, unless dormitory enrollment is required and authorized. Also not covered are duplicate registration and tuition fees and other fees deemed excessive by the dependent schools system comptroller.
Parents with questions should contact the superintendent of the area in which they are or will be stationed. Following are phone numbers and addresses of those offices:
Europe Area Superintendent, Wiesbaden, Germany
CMR 443 Box 7000
APO AE 09096
Pacific Area Superintendent, Okinawa, Japan
FPO AP 96373-5007
Panama/Cuba Area Superintendent, until May 31:
District Superintendent, Panama
DoD Dependents School
APO AA 34002
After June 1:
Panama/Cuba Area Superintendent
4040 N. Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22203-1635