Logan County Schools to cut Junior ROTC program

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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A school program, that was saved from being cut one year ago by a last-minute donation, won't be around next year.

Thursday, school leaders in Logan County confirmed they've already begun the process of eliminating the Junior ROTC program at Chapmanville Regional High School.

A few months ago, they informed the program's instructor that his position will be cut this spring.

They were in a similar spot last spring.

In fact, Friday marks one year to the day since cadets were first told their program would likely be cut at a school board meeting.

Hundreds of cadets packed the meeting that night. Some even shared stories about how the program helped them get their lives on track.

That emotional evening inspired a private donation of $50,000 dollars to pay for the salary of an instructor; needed to keep the program running.

The program already had one instructor, but Army regulations require a second. The Army allowed the district to keep the program in place on a one-year probationary period while they searched for an instructor to fill the role.

School leaders say they posted the position but, without being able to offer a salary beyond the 2017-2018 school year, no Army-approved candidates ever applied.

Now, with the district needing to cut about 50 service personnel positions by next year, they say they have no choice but to eliminate the program.

"It's unfortunate and I know the children have learned a lot through the program," Superintendent Patricia Lucas said. "I appreciate what the instructor has instilled in those students this year, they've worked very hard, but we have to make some tough decisions and this was one of those tough decisions."

Lucas says, since the money from the donation was never spent to pay an instructor, it will be returned.

Logan High School and Man High School both had similar cadet programs, called the National Defense Cadet Corps, which is not affiliated with the Army.

However, because of a lack of instructors, those programs were also canceled before this year even started.

"I hope, in time, they will understand that we have to look at the whole picture and look at the finances that are available to us and what is required from the state department that we offer versus extra things that we can offer," Lucas said.

School leaders say they'll make their final personnel cuts at a meeting in April.

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