MADRAS, Ore. - Former and current JROTC and community members filled the Jefferson County School District building Monday evening to find out what would happen to the recently canceled Madras program, and got some good news.
Superintendent, Ken Parshall announced they've found a viable candidate to take over as lead instructor, weeks after a school board decision to cancel the program due to lack of faculty caused controversy.
Parshall said the candidate has completed the application process, but still must go through the military's background check -- which can take months to complete.
The superintendent said it wasn't a choice to cancel the program, and they've always wanted a teacher because they know how important it is.
"Whether it's an elective class, sport, or extracurricular activity like acting, singing or being in a band, those things are important to have in schools, because they connect kids to schools," Parshall said. "I think you see the same reaction in ROTC as you would another program. When people's kids are connected to a school through a program, we value it."
The district has reached out to the military in hopes they'll expedite the process by the time the school year starts.
Parshall said the program needs a lead instructor and the original instructor, who would have taken over for a retiring colonel, pulled out for personal reasons. That left the program without a teacher.
"It's really difficult to run a program when you don't have an instructor to lead it," Parshall said. "We are excited we have another candidate now and have the option of continuing, hopefully."
One of the men leading the program, Sgt. Kyle Yeager, said he found out the program was being cut through tje newspaper. He also said neither he nor Col. Larry Renfro were approached about how to keep JROTC instead of canceling it. That cancelation left many members in shock and nervous about the program's future.
"JROTC is closing down, and that's what got me, I don't know, I didn't really feel," said Cadet Battalion Cmdr. Kira Povis. "It was like a mix of emotions. I was sad, kind of mad and frustrated."
While many attending the meeting hoped for a better, quicker resolution, the applicant will have to finish the entire hiring process for the program to be reinstated for certain.
The school board will get an update when it meets again on August 14.