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Military Schools Get New Reprieve from Hiring Freeze

Women with a U.S. Marine Female Engagement Team operating in Europe interact with high school students at the National Library of Romania in Bucharest, 26 Sept., 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Michelle Reif)
Women with a U.S. Marine Female Engagement Team operating in Europe interact with high school students at the National Library of Romania in Bucharest, 26 Sept., 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Michelle Reif)

U.S. military school officials said the federal hiring freeze won't impact their ability to hire teachers and administrators for the 2017-2018 school year thanks to a pair of new hiring exemptions they received.

The exemptions, granted Friday and Monday, will allow the the Defense Department Education Activity (DoDEA) to hire teachers, school administrators and other regional and headquarters support personnel, officials said. As a result, they can now fill current vacancies and hire for anticipated ones.

"The March/April timeframe is a critical window for us to fill teacher vacancies that we know will exist for the start of the next school year," Elaine Kanellis, a spokeswoman for the activity, said in a statement. "The exemption will allow us to start hiring teachers for next school year."

At issue is a federal hiring freeze President Donald Trump ordered in late January. Agencies were free to seek exemptions and the 90-day moratorium was expected to lift in late April.

The Defense Department operates 168 schools with 73,000 students on military installations around the world.

The initial hiring exemption applies to "professional educators" such as teachers, psychologists, principals and assistant principals, school nurses, substitute teachers and educational aides, officials said. The second applies to positions such as instructional systems specialists, research specialists and program analysts, they said.

DoDEA didn't experience an abnormal amounts of vacancies during the freeze, Kanellis said.

Even so, teachers and parents told Military.com that although they hadn't witnessed any school closures, they did notice long-term substitutes were being hired due to the freeze.

Officials plan to immediately start processing applications this week, Kanellis said.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @amybushatz.

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