Citizens coming to next board meeting to air their opinions on the discontinuation of JROTC at MHS.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - The MHS JROTC color guard led the Fourth of July Parade. From left to right, cadets include Maria Zavala, Kira Povis, Jasmine Lopez, and Wynona Tewee.Next week, the School District 509-J Board of Directors will hear citizen comments on its unexpected decision June 26 to discontinue the JROTC program at Madras High School.

The program has been in existence since 1993, when retired Lt. Col. Mack Gardner was hired by the district. Retired Lt. Col. Larry Renfro was hired in 2002, and retired at the end of this school year after running the program for 15 years.

With the district's search for a new instructor, who must be a commissioned officer, Renfro and JROTC's other instructor, Staff Sgt. Kyle Yeager, whose contract extends through next year, expected that the district's national search for a replacement for Renfro would yield a qualified candidate.

However, the candidate that the district selected withdrew his name, and the board voted unanimously to discontinue the program, eliminating Yeager's position, since there was not a replacement for Renfro.

Supporters of the JROTC program are expected to voice their concerns about the board's decision at the Monday, July 17, board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., in the Support Services Building.

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