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Worth BOE votes to discontinue service to MCLB children

SYLVESTER, Ga. -- Many students with families attached to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany now face immediate transfers after the Worth County Board of Education voted Thursday to suspend a component of Policy JBCB (nonresident students) that allowed "students whose parents are soldiers living on the military base" to attend Worth County Schools.

Worth school officials said in a news release Friday that the change will be effective beginning with the 2013-14 school year and comes following extensive budgetary review and discussion. The policy is expected to be amended following adoption procedures of Board Policy.

Officials from the base issued a reaction late Friday afternoon.

"This is a terribly unfortunate event," Col. Don Davis, commanding officer of MCLB-Albany, said. "We certainly understand the fiscal realities; however, we have been completely caught off guard by this Worth County Board of Education decision. Military children pay a huge price already, so for our kids to be paying the bill when the base provides $1.4 billion to the local economy hurts.

"We hope that the Worth County Board of Education will reconsider or at least grandfather the 57 students who are already in the system and currently benefiting from the agreement."

MCLB currently maintains memorandums of understanding with surrounding counties and their respective school systems to allow school-age military dependents to enroll in and attend area public schools.

Base officials further reacted by saying that moves during the high school years provide special challenges to learning and future achievement, and that agreements with area school systems have been set in place to help alleviate some of those challenges as well as serve in the best interest of all students.

"We remain deeply committed to the local communities, counties and the city of Albany," Davis said. "This decision comes at a pivotal time in regard to the upcoming school year. Children, and specifically school-aged students, are the up-and-coming contributing members of our communities. This decision, without the possibility of an alternative option, comes at a very unfortunate time."

The School Board is expected to meet again at 8:30 a.m. on July 23 at 103 Eldridge St. in Sylvester.