– Working to ensure military children aren’t left behind or disadvantaged when moving into school districts in Pennsylvania, the state House has unanimously approved Rep. Milou Mackenzie’s (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) bill that would allow those children access to registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population.
“We owe it to all students to provide the best education and equal opportunity,” said Mackenzie. “Our military children should not be left behind just because their parents are being transferred but have not yet moved within the boundaries of the new school district. My bill will remove this challenge for military children and their families.”
Under current law, to enroll a student in school, a school district must request proof of residency. That means students of military families who are transferring on official military permanent change of station orders are not eligible to register in classes, enroll in specialized academic programs, or submit their names in lotteries for charter or magnet schools until they are physically located within the district boundaries.
When these students move because of their parent’s service, they are often disadvantaged due to missed deadlines. An estimated 185,000 military students move between schools annually, and if they do miss these deadlines, they may have to shift their planned courses of study, which may force them to take summer classes or even graduate later than expected.
House Bill 1813
was a top priority in Pennsylvania for the United States Department of Defense. The bill seeks to waive proof of residency requirements by directing school districts to enact policies that would allow a child whose parent or legal guardian is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including a reservist, and has received official military orders to transfer into or within Pennsylvania, to enroll in the district prior to establishing residency by providing a copy of the official military orders to the school district and proof of the parent or guardian’s intention to move into the district.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.