Pentagon to furlough teachers, reduce commissary hours

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world because of the automatic budget cuts that took effect last Friday, but spokesman George Little said Monday the department will manage the process so the schools don't lose their accreditation.

Little said the military also will close all of the commissaries on bases around the world for one extra day each week. They are currently open six days a week.

The furloughs will occur at schools on military bases around the world that serve the children of military personnel posted there. The teachers and staff are Defense Department employees.

Because the length of the school day can't legally be shortened, teachers and staff will likely have to take one unpaid day a week off to meet the furlough requirements. The Pentagon said that each school may handle the staff shortfall differently, perhaps having classes double up or using administrators or other teachers to stand in for absent co-workers.

The furloughs would affect about 8,000 teachers and 7,000 support staff in the 194 military schools around the world. The schools are in seven states that don't include Oregon, a dozen countries, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico, and they serve about 86,000 students.

The cuts will run through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, Republicans controlling the House are moving to give the Pentagon more money for military readiness. They also want to largely exempt agencies such as the FBI and the Border Patrol as well as Western firefighting efforts from the effects of across-the-board spending cuts that are just starting to take effect.

The effort comes as top Republicans unveil a huge spending measure to fund the government through September.

The broad new measure would leave in place cuts of 5 percent to domestic agencies and 7.8 percent to the Pentagon ordered by President Barack Obama Friday night after months of battling with Republicans over the budget.

But the measure would award the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments their detailed 2013 budgets while other agencies would be frozen at 2012 levels — and then bear the across-the-board cuts.


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