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ROTC students meet with Troy BOE

Staff Writer

In an effort to save the ROTC program at Charles Henderson High School, parents and students went before the Troy City Board of Education Monday night.

Students in the JROTC program have been told budget cuts to the Troy City Schools budget may result in cuts to that program, but no decision has been made as of yet.

Rhonda Hebert, whose son has been involved in JROTC, spoke on behalf of those who do not want to see the program cut from the curriculum.

She said news the program may be cut is "troubling" to the students and parents.

"It’s helped keep these kids out of trouble…has shown them they mean something to somebody," Hebert said of JROTC. "To take this away would really be a mistake."

Hebert said she has seen positive changes in students who participate in the program, that teaches self-discipline and respect.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Hank Jones said he has looked at "opportunities" and is still looking.

He said JROTC costs the school system $66,032 each year ­ $45,000 of which is in salaries ­ and only 72 students are in the program, which should have 90 students "to make it fiscally viable." The program has had a "steady decline" over the past few years and needs 180 students to be sustaining.

Jones said the program at CHHS has two instructors and "the student load is not enough to justify the expense of two units.

"This is not something that’s been an easy decision," Jones said. "I don’t want to do anything that will make our system a lesser system, but we can’t continue to operate at the rate we are."

Already, the system has made cuts, including the elimination of seven aides.

One possibility for the JROTC program, Jones said, is bussing students from CHHS to Pike County and Goshen High Schools so they can participate in JROTC on those campuses.

Last Tuesday, about 45 students lined up in front of their high school, urging motorists to support their efforts in saving the JROTC program from the grips of proration.

No action was taken and Jones said he would pose additional questions to the ROTC instructor.

In other business, the board:

· Discussed terminating the Extended Day program, but chose to take action at the June meeting.

Jones said the system is "not going to be in a position to keep this program" at the current rate of expenditures exceeding revenue.

· Refinanced a 1992 bond issue that will create a savings of $350,404 for the school system and will "lessen the impact of proration," said Bill Blount of Blount & Parrish of Montgomery.

Blount said the action will not increase the debt service and is "not really a gamble."

Jones pointed out the money saved can only be used for capital outlay projects.

· Approved a carpet cleaning bid in the amount of $5,860.99 from Images Carpet Cleaning.

· Elected Ron Pierce as president and Douglas Patterson as vice president.

· Accepted resignations from Linda Dykes and Jo Rape, both teachers at CHHS who plan to retire at the end of the current school year, Pam Carlisle and Sherry Key.

· Members were presented policies on tobacco use by personnel and HIV/AIDS. The system was cited in last month’s audit on the tobacco policy. An update of the HIV/AIDS policy was recommended by the auditors.

No action was taken on the matters.