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337 - DOD Policy Letter

MEMORANDUM FOR: DoD PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO AUSTRALIA

FROM: 337 ASUF/CC

SUBJECT: DoD School Policy Letter

1. PURPOSE: This policy letter outlines 337th Air Support Flight (ASUF) policies and procedures used to support the DoD Schools Program in Australia. It provides guidance for all US Active Duty and Civilian Employees.

2. REFERENCES:
a) Department of Defense Education Activity Regulation 1035.1, Department of Defense
Education Activity Use of Non-DOD Schools
b) Department of Defense Directive 1342.13, Eligibility Requirements for Education of Minor
Dependents in Overseas Areas
c) DSPA Manual 2030.3, Non-DoD Schools Guidance
DoDEA-Pacific Service Center (PSC) has designated the 337 ASUF as the host unit for Australia. The 337 ASUF Commander and 337 ASUF Financial Manager execute the roles of Schools Officer and Schools NCO, respectively.

3. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH POLICY AND PROCEDURES: Non-compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in this policy letter can result in processing delays and/or subsequent non-payment/delayed-payment of fees.

4. CANCELLATION: This policy letter super cedes 337 ASUF/CC Letter, "DoD School Policy Letter", 24 April 2004.

5. POLICY:

5.1 Entitlement. The basic entitlement is an educational program commensurate with Department of Defense Dependant Schools (DODDS), which provides the basic high school graduation requirements and educational training for entrance into a United States institution of higher learning. Payment is reimbursed either directly to the school or to the parent. More information on this will be discussed in section 6 of this briefing.

5.2 Eligibility. All command-sponsored family members of US DoD members and employees, who are at least 5 years old but less than 21 years old by 31 March, are eligible for government funded education. Active-duty, appropriated-fund, and non-appropriated fund employees have different verification requirements for eligibility outlined in DSPAM 2030.3.

5.3.1 Australian Public Schools. These schools provide educational opportunities for 13 years of education (Kindergarten through grade 12). Public schools can provide an adequate educational foundation for family members; you must look here first. Just as in the US, however, some school districts have more rigorous standards than other districts. It is the sponsors' responsibility to determine whether the public educational system in their neighborhood adequately meets their family members' needs. It is mandatory for members not assigned with the personnel exchange program, not assigned to a Department of State activity, or is assigned to Alice Springs, with children attending Kindergarten through grade 5 effective school year 2008. For children in grades 6 - 12, private school is authorized provided the criteria outlined in this package are met.

5.3.2 Australian Private Schools. Private school funding is available if sponsors and DoDDS determine that the public educational system does not adequately meet their needs. Parents must understand all aspects of selecting a private school. There is a strong possibility of exposure to doctrines, creeds, tracts, or icons of a parochial nature, which may differ significantly from the beliefs and values held by the family members. DSPAM 2030.3, August 92, "Australia Supplement", requires a justification letter from the sponsor to the DoDEA-Pacific Service Center providing rationale for enrolling family members in private schools prior to receiving reimbursement. Any expenses incurred before approval from DoDDS are borne by the member.

5.4 Allowable Expenses.

5.4.1 The total cost of tuition, textbooks, and transportation funded by DoDEA for
enrollment in a non-DoD school will not normally exceed the United States (U.S.) Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) education allowance for that location. DSSRs can be found at the following link: http://aoprals.state.gov/ , under Allowance Rates, Allowance by Location, select the country and locate the area to which assigned; if not listed, select Other; click on View under Education Allowance. The rates are listed as "At Post". The "Away From Post" does not apply to Australia. See enclosure 3.

5.4.2 Itemize all expenses submitted for payment or reimbursement. Generally, non-itemized lists such as "school supplies" or "school books" are not acceptable, list specific items and book titles.

5.4.3 Attachment 3, Expense Matrix provides an outline of the authorized ("AUTH") and unauthorized ("NOT AUTH") expenses. Note: There is no reimbursement for any REFUNDABLE fees, deposits, or clothing items.

a. Basic tuition costs

1. Non-refundable entrance fees, placement test fees, or registration fees. These fees are authorized only once per sponsor's overseas tour. However, when a student transfers to a higher level (primary-high school, high school-college), entrance fees are reimbursable. Normally, sponsors and family members must be in country before reimbursable expenses can accrue. In some cases, due to short-duration assignments (for example), sponsors may elect to pre-register their children at a particular school. You may submit for reimbursement under the following conditions:
a.) sponsor and family member have both arrived in country,
b.) DoDEA-Pacific approves school enrollment,
c.) the family member claims reimbursement for the school the student actually attends.

b. Textbooks and required school materials such as workbooks relating to textbooks. We cannot reimburse for personal-use items or consumables, such as rulers, compasses, calculators, pens, pencils, notebooks, notebook paper, crayons, glue, protractors, stamps, dictionaries, atlases, etc., or any items of a religious nature.


c. Special activities such as art, music, and physical education skills provided if they are:
1) Included in the courses regularly offered in the curriculum of the school
2) conducted during normal school hours
3) Issued a grade
4) Not one-on-one classes, i.e. school contracts a teacher for only your child
a. Special activity fees not authorized
1) A musical instrument not used in classroom instruction (e.g. instruments for private lessons), purchase of, or rental agreement leading to a purchase of a musical instrument.
2) After-school programs

e. Itemize material fees for library, laboratory, and/or home economics classes.

f. Public transportation costs. You may request reimbursement of private transportation costs for one round trip per day to and from the school when normal commercial transportation is not available on a regular basis (prior DoDEA-Pacific approval for private transportation is required). You request this via a letter justifying the POV travel and requesting reimbursement. The maximum authorized distance that is reimbursable when using a POV is 10KM (6.2Mi) per round trip. The minimum distance required to travel for reimbursement is 4.4KM per round trip.

Transportation costs are authorized for field trips accomplished during normal school hours and do not include overnight stays. Trips conducted outside normal school hours are not reimbursable. Accommodation and meals included in trips are not reimbursable.

g. Correspondence courses. DoD dependant students are authorized reimbursement of home and/or supplemental instructional courses if:
1) The course supplements offerings at non-DoD schools. Normally for subjects required for graduation from a U.S. high school and/or entrance to a U.S. college or university.
2) When it is determined that the courses are part of an appropriate placement as defined by the IEP, eligible DoD dependant students with disabilities

h. Required "donations" and school levies for capital improvement programs and special use programs are considered fees and accepted for payment provided the school charges fees to all the families at the school. However, DoDEA-Pacific approves large or unusual contributions prior to payment. Any refundable levy or fee is the sponsor's responsibility.

i. To meet specific needs, tutors are authorized, primarily for family members with Individual Education Programs (IEP) from the United States. Prior approval from DoDEA-Pacific must be obtained for all tutors. A report/progress card and letter from teacher stating child requires further assistance in subject is required before placement with a tutor.

5.5 Payment and Reimbursement.

5.5.1 Sponsors cannot obligate the US Government for any school expenses whether reimbursable or non-reimbursable and the US Government is not liable for penalties incurred due to improper claims. School invoices with questionable charges will only be processed for the authorized expenses; tuition, transportation, books, and approved fees will not be delayed pending resolution of questionable charges.

5.5.2 Receipts must accompany any request for reimbursement.

5.5.3 Normally, sponsors and family members must be in country before reimbursable expenses can accrue. In some cases, due to short-duration assignments (for example), sponsors may elect to pre-register their children at a particular school. These expenses may be submitted for reimbursement under the following conditions: Sponsor and family member have both arrived in country, DoDEA-Pacific approves school enrollment, and the family member actually attends school for which reimbursement is claimed.

5.6 Family Members with Special Needs. A current Individualized Education Program (IEP) package must be forwarded to the DODEA. Since these are handled on an individual basis, contact schools officer and NCO for specific guidance concerning family members with special needs.

6. PROCEDURES:

6.1 Once sponsor and family members arrive in country, school enrollment procedures normally begin. Sponsors must be aware that initiating enrollment prior to arrival can subject them to expenses that may not be reimbursed.

6.2 The sponsor receives an in-processing schools briefing from the Schools NCO after arriving. At this briefing, the Schools NCO will explain the overall enrollment procedures as well as the procedures to follow throughout the year.

6.3 Prior to submitting enrollment requests, the sponsor determines which school best meets the needs of their child(ren). Consider all aspects of the educational environment--quality of instruction, class size, homework, enrichment opportunities, supervision, location, for example.

6.4 Sponsor submits with enrollment request:
a. Copy of PCS travel orders showing command sponsored family members or the Verification of Command Sponsorship form
b. Application for enrollment for each family member, DoDEA Form 610
c. Reimbursement of transportation expense worksheet
d. Copy of passport or birth certificate for KN & 1st grade
e. School Brochure
f. Schedule of Fees
g. School Curriculum Sheet

6.5 Upon receipt of school invoices, each sponsor must review the bills and/or statements to ensure the bill is correct, prior to forwarding to the Schools NCO. Forward all bills and paid receipts to either:

Australian Post                  US Mail                            Fax
337 ASUF/FMF                  337 ASUF/FMF               337 ASUF/FM
Schools NCO                    Schools NCO                 Schools NCO
US Embassy                     US Embassy                 (02) 6273-5231
Moonah Place                   Unit 11004
Canberra, ACT 2600        APO, AP 96549

6.6 The Schools NCO reviews the submitted documentation and clarifies all questionable claims. The School NCO sends the sponsor a memo informing him/her the balance of the invoice. The sponsor is responsible for paying the remainder of the invoice.

6.7 Payment vouchers are prepared and forwarded to the US Embassy Financial Management Center (FMC) Canberra for payment. FMC makes payment in Australian or US dollars, as appropriate. The check is issued to either the school or the sponsor. Sponsors must ensure that the school understands that payment can take up to 30 days. Sponsors should try to get invoices printed earlier from the school or pay the fees up front and get reimbursed by DoDEA.

6.8 DEROS Extension. Provide a copy of the approved extension order/message to the 337 ASUF/FMF, the 337 ASUF notifies DoDEA-Pacific.

6.9. QUESTIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Contact the Schools NCO at:
TSgt Glendaly James
(02) 6214-5979
glendaly.james@andersen.af.mil  


//SIGNED//
ANDREW C. TRACEY, LT COL, USAF
Commander, 337th Air Support Flight
Schools Officer, Australia


Two School Package Attachments
Package 1.
a) Non-DOD Schools Program (NDSP) Program Guidance
b) Expense Matrix
c) Enclosure 3 & 4

Package 2.
a) Checklist
b) DoDEA Form 610
c) Verification of Command Sponsorship
d) Request for Reimbursement of Transportation
(only used to establish estimate for school year(s))
e) Regional Financial Management Center Form
f) SF 1164 Sample
g) Blank SF 1164