There will be no JROTC program next year at Madras High School, following an action at the Monday night meeting of the School District 509-J Board of Directors.
The problem has been trying to find an instructor for the program, since the retirement of Lt. Col. Larry Renfro at the end of this school year, and dwindling numbers of students in the program.
Superintendent Rick Molitor noted, "The MHS JROTC program is one of the longest running programs in the state, but the student numbers are not materializing. We lost Renfro and have been looking for a replacement, but haven't been able to find a qualified applicant."
He said MHS had found one excellent instructor and was poised to hire him, but he withdrew at the last minute. The JROTC program is contracted through the Army, requires two instructors, and the senior instructor must be a commissioned officer. The Army also wants program enrollment to be 10 percent of the school population, which would be 70 students, and there are fewer than that now.
"The numbers have been down for a couple of years now," said Darryl Smith, district director of Human Resources.
Besides the JROTC program, a reduction in force was requested by MHS administrators for a department secretary at Jefferson County Middle School, and the agriculture instructor at MHS.
For financial reasons, JCMS Principal Simon White requested one school secretary be riffed, which would be done according to seniority.
For the MHS ag program, because of a reduced number of students, it was recommended to reduce the instructor's position to half-time.
Board member Laurie Danzuka said she was not happy about the JROTC situation, especially the students who have been in it for three years, but would be left without a program their senior year.
Board member Lyle Rehwinkel said, "JROTC is one of the most visible programs in our community, and they are going to be missed. And even worse is ag — to not have ag in an agricultural community."
Board member Courtney Snead made a motion to vote separately on the three programs recommended for reduction in force, which passed.
The board then held an executive session to hear more information from administrators.
Back in open session, the board approved a reduction in force for the JROTC program, and JCMS secretarial position.
Before the vote on the agriculture instructor position, Snead clarified, "Enrollment is down, so we're voting on whether to fund the position full time, or reduce it to half-time if we want the position to match the enrollment?" That was affirmed.
Two board members voted for the reduction in force, two voted against it, and one abstained; so the motion failed due to the lack of quorum. The ag instructor will continue as a full-time position.
In other personnel business, the hiring of Randall Bryant as the new 509-J Director of Human Resources and Operations (replacing Darryl Smith, who accepted another job) was approved.
Resignations were accepted from Lonnie Usrey, dean of students, and Lucas Jackson, third grade teacher, both from Warm Springs K-8 Academy.
New teacher hires included: Ryan Young, Laci Nelle, Timothy McKeaney, all Warm Springs K-8; Glory McDonald and Jamie Hemstead, both Madras Elementary; Shannon Richards at JCMS; and Connie Canali for alternative education at Bridges High School.