Local leaders applaud new school policy for children of military families

  • Published
  • By James Spellman, Jr.
  • SMC Public Afairs

Local South Bay officials joined Space and Missile Systems Center and 61st Air Base Group personnel on the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between Los Angeles Air Force Base and the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The signing, held at the Gordon Conference Center in the Schriever Space Complex, officially marked the implementation of California Assembly Bill 306, giving military families flexibility in choosing their children’s schools.

The bi-partisan legislation was introduced by state Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, and co-authored by state Senator Ben Allen, D-Redondo Beach and Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, whose respective South Bay political districts includes Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo. Its signing provides opportunities for service members taking permanent change of station assignments to any military installation in California to send their school-age children to schools outside their immediate home districts.

"AB 306 provides more schooling options for our active-duty personnel with families assigned to Los Angeles Air Force Base and the Space and Missile Systems Center," said Col. Charles Roberts, Los Angeles Air Force Base Installation Commander, who officiated at the event. "It's a win-win situation for military families accepting assignment to the only military installation in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area."

The bill was signed into law Oct. 11, 2015 by Gov. Jerry Brown at his Capitol office in Sacramento, and was officially implemented locally at Los Angeles AFB for the next school year.

“Southern California has been a national leader in aerospace innovation and production. Los Angeles Air Force Base has been integral to the growth and livelihood of communities I represent,” said Senator Allen. “These families face many challenges in the service of our country, and this new policy is an important way to show our support for them. I am so pleased that we can give back to this community and that families stationed at LAAFB will be able to select the school that is best for their children.”

Until recently, children of military personnel had to attend schools in the district where they lived unless the home district approved an inter-district transfer request. AB 306 removes the authority for the school districts of residency to deny or veto an inter-district transfer request for the children of active-duty military personnel.  Passage of the bill provides flexibility for military family children to attend a school that is closer to the installation or parent's place of work, offers a similar program that the children were enrolled in from a previous assignment, or attend a school that meets the educational needs of the student outside of the home residency district.

"We have a big challenge to make Los Angeles Air Force Base as competitive and attractive as possible," said Assemblyman Hadley. "By improving the public school options for military families stationed at Los Angeles AFB, we're really improving the attraction of this base."