February 7, 2014 --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials recently signed three five-year memorandums of understanding with Dougherty, Lee and Worth counties’ school districts, which will allow children of active-duty military to attend their school of choice.
Dougherty and Lee counties MOUs were renewed in November 2013 and Worth County was renewed in January.
With the installation tucked into the tri-county border of Dougherty, Lee and Worth counties, Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, praised the counties’ school districts with providing the active-duty military children options to attend the schools that meet their needs.
There are about 400 students of active-duty military here: about 100 attend Lee County schools, about 60 attend Worth County schools and less than 200 attend Dougherty County schools, while the remainder attends private schools or are homeschooled.
“We value the future of our children and their education is paramount to that future,” Davis said. “The superintendents in the local counties share that vision and we are extremely grateful they all have gotten with their school boards and signed five-year memorandums of understanding so that our children, for the next five years, are assured their options for education.”
Davis noted that children of military parents move six to nine times, sometimes more, throughout their school careers.
“It’s my job as commanding officer to try to make sure (the children here) have as many options as possible,” he said. “There are four high schools in Dougherty County, there is one in Lee County and there is one in Worth County, so the best possible option is (for) our kids to be able to choose from three different county school systems, but in particular (the) six different high schools.
“Each one of these high schools’ programs has a different focus, so I think it’s important for our kids to have as many options as possible when they arrive here,” Davis added. “Dougherty County has reinstated school of choice and improved on what (the MOU) used to be.”
MCLB Albany’s officials - Business Performance Office Director Tina Lee, former School Liaison, Dana Wallace, and new School Liaison Latreesa Perryman - negotiated and facilitated the MOUs. They outlined the MOUs with each county school district.
Children of active-duty military, who live on or off base in Dougherty County, may choose any school within that county. Dougherty County busses the children to their chosen schools.
Children of active-duty military, who live on base, may attend Lee County schools for a fee, $8.50 a day, $1,504.50 for the school year. If a family changes duty stations before the end of the school year, that family will receive a refund for any monies not used.
Parents are responsible for transporting their children to and from Lee County schools and/or private schools.
Children of active-duty military who live on base may opt to attend Worth County schools. Worth County busses the children to their chosen schools and there are no fees.
Children of active-duty military living off base in Lee and Worth counties attend schools in that respective school district.
The MOUs include available services the base provides to the counties’ schools such as Partners in Education, Read Across America, job shadowing and mentorship programs.
“All three MOUs are reviewed annually for any changes,” Lee said, describing the choice option as phenomenal for children of active-duty military. “What this allows is for the parents to make the best choice for their children. Military children are unique because their parents have to move so frequently.”
Now the Non-appropriated Funds human resources director, Wallace said. she’s enjoyed “working with all the different school districts. The school districts and (Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany) have a great relationship. We all want the same common goal and that is what’s best for our children.”
Perryman stressed the importance of assisting active-duty military families with finding the right schools for their children.
A native of Albany, Perryman attended Dougherty County schools during her kindergarten through high school years - Lincoln Fundamental Magnet School, Robert Cross Middle Magnet School, formerly known as Highland Middle School, and Monroe Comprehensive High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Ga., and earned a Master of Science in community counseling from Troy State University in Phenix City, Ala.
She provides resources to parents to assist them in picking the best school for their children, which includes setting up visits to the three counties’ schools.
“I think if families are able to tour some of the schools and see what the schools have to offer, it will be a great avenue to better make a decision for their child,” Perryman said.
“I appreciate all the school systems working with us to ensure that military children receive the best education,” she continued. “I think what the schools are doing is helping with that transition (when moving to our base) and helping to ease some of those stressors for our military families.”
For more information about the three counties’ schools, call Perryman at 229-639-7497, send her email at email@example.com or visit her in her office, located in Building 7122 next to the Base Library. She is available Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.