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Worth, MCLB reach tentative compromise

SYLVESTER, Ga. -- Worth County School administrators and MCLB-Albany officials reached a tentative deal Monday morning which will allow 57 children of active-duty Marines stationed at the base to continue to attend county schools for at least the 2013-14 school year.

The WCS Board will hold a special session at 6:30 tonight to vote on tentative agreement reached during a conference call between Worth County Schools and MCLB to accept students who have been currently enrolled in Worth County Schools.

The Board of Education’s decision Thursday to suspend a policy that allowed students whose parents are Marines living on the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to attend Worth County schools stunned base officials and outraged many parents of the 57 children.

Four days later it appears a compromise has been reached. The WCS issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“Officials from MCLB and Worth County Schools communicated today via telephone conference. A tentative agreement pending board approval was made between WCS and MCLB to accept students who have been currently enrolled in Worth County Schools. WCS and MCLB have had a long lasting relationship and look forward to continuing that relationship. Further discussions will take place with MCLB and WCS about a possible stipend for future enrolled students.”

Minutes later, MCLB officials issued a response:

“The Worth County Board of Education will hold a called meeting on July 16, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the suspension of a component of Policy JBCB (Nonresident Students) that allowed “students whose parents are soldiers living on the military base” to attend Worth County Schools.

“Marine Corps Logistics Base leadership and Worth County educators came to a tentative agreement, pending school board approval, to grandfather currently enrolled students and continue to work toward a solution for future enrollment of military children in Worth County schools today (Monday) in a teleconference between the two parties.

“We are encouraged by the dialogue today with Worth County and are grateful of their decision to grandfather our military children currently enrolled in their schools,” Col. Donald J. Davis, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, said. “We look forward to working with them to find the right solution for the way ahead in future school years. Their personal care and concern for the student’s well-being and educational success truly guided their decision and we are very appreciative to their educators and all educators in Dougherty, Lee and Worth counties for the options they extend to our military students.”

“Memorandums of Agreement are maintained with surrounding counties and their respective school systems to afford options to military dependents of school age to enroll in and attend area public schools.

“The ability to have options provides students with the opportunity to get the best education possible, directly contributing to the success of local communities, counties and the country; as the children are the future.

“I would like to personally thank our local educators, the local communities, counties and the city of Albany. We sustain our strong personal and professional relationships, those established and maintained since 1952, through our communication efforts toward the greater good and today was an example of just that,” Davis said.”