Four Duval County Schools Unexpectedly Cut JROTC | Schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dozens of First Coast students will no longer get training in high school to be military leaders of the future.
We've confirmed Englewood, Mandarin, Raines and Wolfson have cut their JROTC programs.
"They took out the one thing I loved about high school," Englewood senior Brian Sightler said.
"Always have looked forward to JROTC and being part of a team," Englewood sophomore Joey Taylor said.
Taylor lives and breathes JROTC. In the sweltering heat, he and his friends still enjoy practicing drills in the neighborhood; a neighborhood the Taylors moved to specifically for the school and its JROTC program.
"This is going to cut out some opportunities for a bunch of people," said Taylor's mother, Nova, who added they are depending on the JROTC scholarships.
"When you start high school they want you to decide a career path, and they want you to start thinking about college and how you're going to get there and this program has a lot to do with how a lot of children are going to proceed with going to college."
It boils down to money for Duval County Public Schools, as well.
A spokesperson says each principal was told to cut their budget by 1.5% for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. Other schools choose to cut AP classes or after school programs.
Although JRTOC is not a recruitment tool, approximately 40% of cadets go on to serve in the military.
Sightler has already signed up to serve with the delayed entry program.
"I've actually sworn in the Army because of the program," Sightler said. "It's made me who I am today."
Because he's already in, Sightler has decided to stay at Englewood for his senior year.
But Taylor's family is now making plans to move him to Sandalwood so he can pursue his goal of serving his country.
"I see myself in the future as somebody who's actually important," Taylor said.
Parents and students have started an online movement, circulating petitions and joining SAVE JROTC on Facebook. There is also a meeting scheduled Saturday, July 23 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the cuts. It will be held at Drew Park.