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Military parents' complaints heard
Area superintendents meet with post educators
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Fort Stewart officials met with superintendents from Bryan, Chatham, Liberty and Long counties on Tuesday to discuss options for dealing with complaints that parents submitted during a spring meeting with the school districts’ representatives.
Department of Defense Education Activity school issues that need to be improved on, according to parents, include a lack of parental involvement, a lack of communication between Fort Stewart and the DODEA and student safety.
To deal with the problems, officials are planning to develop a school/garrison task force, comprised of installation representatives, parents and school officials who will meet on a regular basis to discuss problems. The issues would then be referred to school superintendents and the garrison commander for further action, according to a presentation during the meeting.
Liberty County parents complained about inadequate transportation for students who travel from Fort Stewart to Midway Middle School.  
According to a slideshow presentation during the meeting, bus schedules have been inconsistent, there is a shortage of drivers, pick-up locations vary and students arrive too early or late to school.
Dr. Cheryl Conley, who attended the meeting in Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer’s place, said the situation was brought up to the transportation director and has been remedied since parent complaints were received.
Lack of volunteering opportunities complaints puzzled both garrison commander Col. Kevin Milton and Conley, especially when school systems like Bryan County are implementing incentive programs for volunteers.
“We have a lot of volunteers in our schools, so I’m not real sure where this is coming from,” Conley told Milton.
Dave Smith, installation school liaison, presented each of the topics to the group and said the complaints came from very few parents during the initial spring session. 
Milton encouraged superintendents to find “creative and innovative ways to remind people that volunteer opportunities are always available in the school systems.” Recommendations also included making parents feel welcomed on campus and establishing effective communications for parental involvement, whether though parent notices or school websites.
Conley thought the meeting was successful and necessary to continue planning for the future of students in all school districts.
“Col. Milton and his team have been great to work with and are very willing to assist us when called on.  I also appreciate the collegial bond that exists between the five counties and Fort Stewart/Hunter,” Conley wrote in an e-mail.
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