TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants school districts to waive proof of residency requirements and allow military families to enroll children in school before relocating. His bill (A5694) allowing that cleared the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Monday.
“It’s a stressful time for families when they receive relocation orders,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “My bill will take some of the stress off those families as they make plans to relocate.”
The bill would also allow school-age children to register for classes before moving into the district. The committee did amend the bill to require families to present school districts with the relocation order when registering the student for classes.
According to a Military Times survey, 70% of respondents said moving between states “added challenges” to their children’s education. Families reported problems with credit transfers that can interfere with academic advancement.
The average military members’ children will change schools nine times by the time they complete high school, another study found. Forty percent of respondents said they turned down an advancement to allow their children to remain at a high-performing school.
“Military families already face so many challenges, and the children of those moms and dads in our armed forces face additional difficulties moving to a new school district where everything is unfamiliar,” Dancer said. “Allowing these students to walk into that new school knowing who their teachers are, and what classes they will be attending, can offer peace of mind to them and their parents.”
Families would have to supply proof of residency – military assignment documents, a mortgage or lease contract, or voter registration, among others – once settled into their new housing.
The Senate referred its version to the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee in May.