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The Department of Defense Education Activity announced Wednesday that its Remote Home School Program, which serves more than 400 pupils around the globe, will end in July.

Harvey Gerry, chief of policy and legislation for DODEA, said in a phone interview Thursday that congressional funding for the program has run out and the agency has determined that it can’t continue to fund it.

“If we were receiving the level of funding that we have received in the recent past, we would still have the program,” he said.

That funding totaled about $4 million this school year. The program, which started in 2001, has been mainly used by home-schooled students in the Pacific, Gerry said, though there are some in Europe and elsewhere.

The program includes computer-based course work and instruction.

Many of those currently in the program live in existing U.S. military communities in Japan. Parents will be given a choice of enrolling children in a DODEA school, paying for the same service themselves or continuing to home-school children in a different manner.

“I would expect that most will choose to do one of the latter two,” Gerry said.

He stressed that DODEA would continue to support other pupils around the globe who live in remote locations and don’t have access to the agency’s schools. That includes about a dozen children in Alice Springs, Australia, who are currently enrolled in the program that’s being discontinued. Pupils in such situations are given the opportunity to attend local or international schools, take correspondence courses or receive home-school instruction — all paid for by DODEA.

Gerry describes the Remote Home School Program as “a way in which military families in overseas locations are able to have a home-school program with a very high level of support.”

That support has come from a contractor in Alaska hired to provide the service.

“We truly regret the disruption this may cause students and families,” Joseph Tafoya, the agency’s director, was quoted as saying in a news release. “We do not take this decision lightly — it is the result of careful analysis of the needs of our directed mission.”

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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