Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the passage of the Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which included a provision allotting $250 million in funding for schools on military installations:
“The creation of this grant program signals our abiding commitment to military families and the educational opportunities vital to their children’s future.
“$250 million dollars will be made available for improvements to public schools on military installations nationwide. This funding measure means the Clover Park School District has the opportunity to secure millions of dollars for renovations and new construction of elementary and secondary schools on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“The population of JBLM has undergone rapid growth since 2003, when then-Fort Lewis supported 19,000 military members. Today the Joint Base includes over 43,000 military personnel, and the Army has recently announced a plan to add 1,400 soldiers as part of a new Combat Aviation Brigade.
“As more families are welcomed to the JBLM community, schools must adjust to greater class sizes and infrastructure challenges. Going forward, I will work with the Joint Base as well as state and local officials to address pressing educational needs both on and off base.
“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I intend to continue working on these issues as we begin consideration of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act.”