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9th Annual Update to the Report to Congress on Assistance to Local Education Agencies

Section 574 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, as amended, requires the Secretary of Defense to identify the projected changes in military dependent students by installation as a result of force structure changes, relocation of military units or the closure or realignment of installations under base closure laws. Section 574 also requires a plan for outreach to be conducted for assisting affected local educational agencies (LEAs) along with recommendations from the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) for assisting impacted LEAs. The original intent of the report was to understand and alleviate the impact of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) on LEAs, which was completed in September of 2011. While evidence of growth was realized based on Federal Impact Aid (FIA) data between 2006 and 2012, the total number of military dependents declined for the first time in school year (SY) 2012-13. Projection data from the Military Departments confirm the decrease, which can be expected in the future.

This is the ninth such annual Department of Defense (DoD) update to Congress. Contributors to this report include the Military Departments, the Department of Education (ED), OEA, and the Office of Military Community and Family Policy. Military department projections for SY 2015-16 show a loss of nearly 7,000 military dependent students (military, civilian and contractors) at the 63 installations reported, compared with a loss of about 4,000 during SY 2014-15 at 40 installations. This is the second year in a row that projections show a substantial loss in military dependents. The projected change by school year is included by state (Appendix 1), Military Service (Appendix 2), and by growth and loss (Appendix 3).

This year's update also includes an analysis of seven years (SY 2006-07 through 2012-13) of FIA data to identify the states and LEAs most impacted by the military (Tables 1-3) as well as those states and LEAs that have experienced the most growth and loss (Tables 4-6). FIA is currently the only data source identifying the LEAs military dependent students attend. The key data point from the most recent year of data is a total one year loss of 26,000 military dependent students. This loss of students erases nearly all of the growth over the past seven years of military dependent students. Only 50 LEAs gained more than 40 students from SY 2011-12 to 2012-13, while 126 LEAs lost 40 or more military dependent students.


Charter Schools on Military Installations Report to Congress

The Senate Appropriations Committee directed on page 15 of Senate Report 112-29, which accompanies H.R. 2055, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2012, the Secretary of Defense to "conduct a study of charter schools located on domestic military installations and report to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress on domestic locations where charter schools could substantially improve the quality of education for children of military families while meeting the unique needs of this mostly transient population."

This report contains an overview of charter schools in the United States, and a profile of the seven charter schools on domestic military installations. In regards to the second request, to "identify locations where charter schools could substantially improve the quality of education...", local educational agencies (LEAs) are not required to report data on the specific schools military-connected students attend and the academic performance of these students.

There are currently seven charter schools located on military installations in the U.S. in six different states. These charter schools are:

  • Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy, Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB), Arkansas;
  • Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona;
  • Manzanita Public Charter School, Vandenberg AFB, California;
  • Wheatland Charter Academy, Beale AFB, California;
  • Sigsbee Charter School, Naval Air Station Key West, Florida;
  • Belle Chasse Academy, Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Station New Orleans, Louisiana;
  • Imagine Andrews Public Charter School, Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility, Maryland.

The seven charter schools serve a total of 2,498 students, with about 1,770 (71%) of these students being military-connected. Four of the charters are their own LEA - Flightline Upper Academy, Manzanita Public Charter School, Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, and Belle Chasse Academy. They are authorized by the state board of education, a state charter school board, or in the case of Manzanita Public Charter School, an LEA, while the other three schools are authorized by and part of an LEA. Two of the charter schools - Imagine Andrews Public Charter School and Flightline Upper Academy - opened in the fall of 2011 and are in their first year of operation. Five of the schools are associated primarily with AFBs and the other two are on Navy installations. Only one of the schools includes high school grades, Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, which plans to expand to a full middle and high school by SY 2013-14. The other six charter schools are either elementary or middle schools.

Each charter school on a military installation has its own unique story. The profiles in this report provide a summary of how the school started, some of the challenges they faced and overcame, their demographics, student achievement (if available), and other pertinent information.