May. 31, 2023

HARRISBURG – Working to ensure military children aren’t left behind or disadvantaged when moving into school districts in Pennsylvania, the House passed a bill that would allow those children access to registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population. Rep. Milou Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) is a prime co-sponsor of House Bill 1094. She was the prime sponsor of similar legislation last session.

“Our military men and women make so many sacrifices in service to our country, but their commitment also requires sacrifice by their families,” said Mackenzie. “Our servicemembers’ children should not face extra educational hurdles as their parent moves from one assignment to another. This bill would make it easier for these kids to enroll in new schools in the Commonwealth.”

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 parents’ service, they are often disadvantaged due to missed deadlines. An estimated 185,000 military students move between schools annually, and if they 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 1094 is 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.

Rep. Milou Mackenzie
131st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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