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Post commander thanks local schools for supporting military families

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Nov. 30, 2010) — While Fort Leonard Wood’s commanding general thanked many in the off-post community at Tuesday night’s Committee of Fifty dinner for their support of the installation, he singled out the schools for special thanks and said that was a major area of importance, both for him and for his wife.

“Things that Melissa and I used to think of as we travelled round the Army our 30 years is where are the kids going to school,” said Maj. Gen. David Quantock. “It drove a lot of our decisions of where we are going to be assigned is where our kids were going to school. I mean, Hawaii is a great station, but if your kids are a certain school age you don’t want to go to Hawaii because the high schools are horrible. Well, our high schools are premier, and it is a big deal for folks who want to come here to send their kids to great schools.”

Judene Blackburn, the Waynesville R-VI School District superintendent, said about two thirds of the students in her district are impacted, with two-thirds of that number being children of military personnel and the remaining 12 percent having parents who work on Fort Leonard Wood. Those statistics are available because the federal government gives special “impact aid” funds to school districts with high percentages of students living on post or whose parents work on post, since military installations pay no taxes to local government.

“We are very appreciative of his recognition of our quality high school; we are pleased to hear that,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn said her district tries to work with military families in a variety of ways.

“We try to be understanding of the transitions that they have been through, the fact that they have perhaps been in many different districts, and we try to be as accommodating as we can with curriculum kind of things and ways they are being served that meet individual student needs,” Blackburn said. “I think we are open and friendly to all families. Again, I think it’s mostly just a matter of trying to do all that we can to understand and support.”

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