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Program a staple of education

The news recently that our Junior High ROTC program was on the chopping block again was certainly a surprise to many who thought, based on recent comments from superintendent of education Mike Reed, the program had been reinstated for the long term. It seems now that it was not, that the real reason the program will be around next year is because the school board had to honor a contract with the Army, not because reinstating it is the right thing to do, which we feel it is.

Reed now says the program will be reinstated if Governor Bob Riley's tax plan is passed in the September referendum. Riley is seeking to raise more than $1 billion to fund education and other items and while he has garnered much support for the plan many officials from his own party have come out against it which means its passage is questionable to say the least.

It's obvious to us that education funding needs help and if Riley's plan doesn't pass, that some hard decisions will have to be made. We hope as our board of education looks at the situation they will see the value of keeping JROTC intact as its future will determine the future and livelihood of many of our children, just as it has for the many years it's been in place in Butler County.

If Riley's plan doesn't pass, we encourage the superintendent and the board to look hard for other cuts that can be made that would allow the system to keep JROTC. Surely there's room in the system's budget for a worthwhile program such as this, especially one that is partially funded by the federal government.