Washington, DC – Public school students from active-duty military families will have greater education options in Washington, DC under new legislation signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser and sponsored by Councilmember David Grosso and Chairman Phil Mendelson.
Military families and Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling (JBAB) officials have been advocating for the preference – which would allow a newly-created public charter school located on or near JBAB the ability to set-aside up to 50 percent of its seats to children of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces.
“Our service men and women serve our country and often have to move their families from state to state,” said Jill Gaitens, Regional Director at the Military Child Education Coalition. “Knowing that there are good educational options for their children will make their moves easier for them and for their families.”
"This public charter school will provide additional educational opportunities not only to our military families here on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, but also our Ward 8 families," said JBAB Commander, Navy Capt. Frank Mays. "Plans for creating a public charter school with a military preference on or near JBAB have been in the works for nearly 20 years and we are excited to see them finally come to fruition. This is truly a win-win for JBAB and the local community."
Military families move an average of every two to three years. Concerns over unpredictable movement and difficult or inconvenient admissions policies can complicate the decisions that armed service families have to make as they transfer posts.
Two Washington DC areas – Wards 6 and 8 – are near one of DC’s two military installations, making each a likely target for the public charter school to locate. JBAB officials have identified space on their base for the school, but may choose to locate the school outside their gates to ease accessibility.
“We want to do all we can to help military families and their children find a place in a public charter school,” said Scott Pearson, Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board. “We plan to move right away to find new charter schools that can offer this preference.”
There are seven military bases across the country with public charter schools including Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago.