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Bill to make military transfers easier for kids, families goes to governor

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POSTED: April 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
A military wife in Hinesville is cheering for a bill making it easier for children of military personnel to transfer to new schools.
And Jane Stetson is encouraged that the measure is now headed to Gov. Sonny Perdue's desk after being approved by the Georgia House last week.
Senate Bill 345, a measure to adopt the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, sailed through the House on a 164-0 vote, making Georgia the first state to endorse the multi-state agreement in both chambers of legislature. The Georgia Senate approved the bill in a 49-0 vote in late February.
Stetson, the mother of four with two still in Liberty County schools, supports the measure because she remembers the mounds of paperwork, lines of red tape and days of missed school it took to transfer her sons from their Connecticut school system.
"Georgia schools are just really hard to deal with," Stetson said, outlining some of the problems she encountered with documentation requirements. "One of my sons had to stay out of school for days just because he didn't have the (Georgia) vision and dental screenings. We definitely need something that's easier."
Sponsored by Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), who represents Fort Benning, a U.S. Army base near the Georgia/Alabama state line, SB 345 is part of a nationwide effort to ease the normally cumbersome process faced by military personnel when enrolling their children into new school systems.
According to research conducted by the Council of State Governments, military students experience "six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade."
The aim of the agreement is to keep children of military parents on track with their coursework during these transitions by reducing the difficulty of transferring records and variations in enrollment, graduation and testing requirements among school districts.
States receiving military transfers would accept temporary transcripts for class placement until official records are received, as well as enroll and provide a grace period to students who do not meet local vaccination requirements.
Membership in academic societies such as the National Honors Society or Beta Club would be honored and state-specific exit exams required for high school graduation could be waived or substituted for tests taken in another state.
The agreement would also make it easier for non-custodial guardians or relatives of military students to enroll them in school and allow military children extra excused absences to be with parents home on leave.
Twenty-five states are considering the compact this year. At least 10 states must approve the compact in order for it to become effective.
 

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