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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COBURN. I have cleared with Senator Levin to be able to speak about a topic but not offer an amendment. I understand we are working on a unanimous consent agreement. I do have an amendment that at the appropriate time hopefully will be able to be brought up, but I wish to discuss it now. I think it is a way for us to save $1.1 billion over the next 5 years in the Defense Department, give children of on-base military schools a better education, help the local school districts through Impact Aid by $12,000 per student per year, and actually do what we are intending to do in terms of education.

We have 64 schools right now on 18 military bases within the United States. There are 26,000 students taught by 2,300 teachers. That is 1 teacher for every 11 students. The average cost per student per year is $51,000 in a military school--$51,000. That is 250 percent higher than the highest cost district anywhere in the United States--2 1/2 times.

This amendment says let's use local schools, let's help local schools through these military bases, and let's give an exemption if we need to, if it is not available. If we were to do that, three positive things would happen. The first one is probably a better education. According to the teachers, conditions are so bad that some of the educators at base schools envy the civilian public schools off base, which admittedly have their own challenges. ``Some of the new schools in town make our schools look like a prison,'' said David Primer, who uses a trailer as a classroom to teach students German at Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, VA. In other words, what they are looking at, what they are doing, and for the cost of it, the value can be higher. That is No. 1.

Second, it will help the local school districts because they will not only get Impact Aid, but they will be given up to $12,000 per year per student off a military base.

Then, finally, third, it will, over the next 5 years, save $220 million a year out of the military's budget that they would not be spending. That is after the $12,000 and the Impact Aid. So it is a way to save $1.1 billion and give a better education with better facilities to the children of our military service bases, these 26,000 students at 16 military installations. It is a win-win-win.

My hope is we will be able to call up this amendment and make it pending in the future.

I thank the Chair.

I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.

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