Navy to cut its JROTC program at Mariner High School
The school was told it didn't meet minimum enrollment in the program last year, the district says.
Mariner High did not meet the minimum student enrollment of at least 100 students in the program during the 2010-11 school year, according to a letter to the Mukilteo School District from Rear Admiral David F. Steindl.
"Ironically, our enrollment for this coming year is above 100," said Andy Muntz, school district spokesman, although he said he didn't know the exact number of students who have signed up.
It's too early to know if the school district will ask the Navy to reconsider its decision, he said.
"That's a possibility, but I can't say we'll do that," Muntz said. "I think the problem is probably deeper than just enrollment as far as the Navy is concerned. They indicated to us it was more of a budget concern."
Mariner is one of two high schools in Washington and 29 nationally that were notified their programs will be ending due to the Navy's enrollment requirements. The required number of students needed to continue the program varies by school size.
Any school with more than 1,000 students must have at least 100 students in the Navy Junior ROTC program for it to continue. Mariner High School has an overall enrollment of about 2,000 students.
Students enrolled in the program can apply for college scholarships that provide full tuition at colleges with Navy ROTC units. After they graduate, they must complete four years of active duty.
The Navy said Mariner has the option of starting a similar program, called the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps. But the school would have to pay for most of the program's costs, including instructor salaries, uniforms and daily expenses.
That is a step the school district could consider, Muntz said. But he noted that the district has had budget shortfalls amounting to $13.5 million over the past three years.
And the school district's budget for the upcoming school year has been cut by $1.2 million, he said.
"Adding things to our budget has not been part of the mix here lately," Muntz said.
The ROTC program has been a popular and valuable choice for students since it was established in the 2000-01 school year.
"It gives the kids a lot of options for an elective," he said, "and just the discipline and curriculum of the program have been good things."
In a statement, the Navy said the goal of the Junior ROTC programs is to encourage citizenship and service to the United States.
Activities include community service programs, marksmanship training, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics seminars.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or email@example.com
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