ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) The Rochester City School District is facing another budget crisis next school year, and trying to close an $85 million dollar-plus budget gap. Some programs are likely to be on the chopping block.
One possibility is the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. Many high schools have JROTC, and some future military recruits are hoping the opportunities offered stay here.
“If I had an idea as to why they’re cutting the program, it’s because it’s costing too much money,” says former JROTC cadet Josh Lowe. He and dozens of others in the program want to ensure it stays in the next budget cycle.
“So, if it is because of funds, that’s a little weird because everything in our program is funded by the government,” says JROTC member Jade Rodriguez.
JROTC is a federal program. Washington pays for half of it on a matching basis. School Board Commissioner Willa Powell says to keep it is all or nothing. “You have to keep the program intact, or else the money doesn’t come,” she says.
Powell says in the budget it called for a 50 percent reduction in the program. But they’ll have to do some adjusting on the budget to retain JROTC
“The reality is, they’ll have to do 100 percent restore, or do 100 percent elimination,” adds Powell. Word from Powell Thursday is the District is recommending to now keep JROTC. But that is not a done deal.
“The savings are not great. But our situation is so dire that you have to add up even the smallest of savings. It is in the administration’s hands what they are going to do about this, because they built their budget on incorrect assumptions,” she says.
The District did say there will be no comment on any programs getting cut until the budget is finalized and the Board of Education approves it. The Board is expected to vote on the budget next month.