LOGAN - The Logan County Board of Education indicated Thursday night it is working on a partnership with the West Virginia National Guard in an attempt to find an alternative program for the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
"We have had a terrible time trying to secure instructors," said board president Paul Hardesty. "We found private sector money to fund it, but we have had no luck in respect to finding a commissioned officer to come in and run the program. General Hoyer wants to try to do some kind of pilot program in the area to character build and encourage drug diversion, which is something that is much needed in Southern West Virginia and Logan County."
According to WVOW News, the program's instructor at Chapmanville Regional High School was informed months ago that his position will be cut this spring.
School leaders said they posted the position but, without being able to offer a salary beyond the 2017-18 school year, no Army-approved candidates ever applied. Now, with the district needing to cut service personnel positions by next year to be closer to the state formula, they said they have no choice but to eliminate the program.
The 100 or so students who participate at CRHS were told last March that the program would be cut due to lack of funding in the county. Alpha Natural Resources and other private donors gave almost $300,000 to ensure the program could continue for at least one more year.
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.
"That was possibly the most valuable program in our county," said board member Ed White. "It's gone unfortunately; we just can't find officers. Paul helped find funding but we couldn't find officers, so that killed the program. We talked about some alternative programs to do at least some of what JROTC did. It's not about military preparation; it's about character building, honor, respect, citizenship and so on. It even reaches the families sometimes, so it helps the community as well as our school children."
Also approved Thursday night:
- Approval of change orders for Chapmanville Intermediate School, which include $11,542 for lighting and $11,882.14 for general construction and drainage.
- Adoption of new mathematics textbooks.
- The approval of six out-of-state travel requests, including the gifted students traveling to Biltmore Estates and FIRST Robotics Team 337 for the World Competition in Detroit.
The Logan County Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. April 17 to vote on levy rates and reductions in force for the 2018-19 school year. This meeting will take place at the central office.
Nancy Peyton is a news reporter for HD Media. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @NPeytonLB.