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Super, legislators might look to save JROTC program at Coventry High

February 18, 2014

The Coventry High School's Junior ROTC program has been part of many events in town, from parades to financial town meetings (above), but declining enrollment has forced the program to shut down after this year unless political intervention gives it a reprieve. File Photo.

COVENTRY— School administrators in Coventry are asking for help from multiple legislators in reinstating the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) program at the high school despite years of low enrollment.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Almeida explained that during their recent school committee meeting a discussion was had about the program—it’s history, its enrollment trend and its deactivation.

“It’s been a challenge for the district in regards to increasing the enrollment because of the choices the students have about what to participate in and what electives to take,” he said. “The Air Force believes that’s the reason we continue to struggle to get 100 students enrolled.”

Instructor Colonel Steven and his colleague Master Sgt. Marc Boulay got a letter in October 2012 from the Air Force explaining that Coventry’s unit, RI-081, would be deactivated if it did not maintain minimum enrollment the following school year.

According to Title 10, U.S. Code Section 2031, the program must have a minimum of 100 people or 10 percent of the school population, whichever is less, Colonel Buteau said.

When the school session started in September, the JROTC was only able to get 77 cadets to enroll in the program.

In November, Superintendent Dr. Michael Almeida received a letter from the JROTC Director Colonel Cameron Gilbert explaining that the program would be deactivated on June 30 of this year.

The JROTC program at Coventry High School has not been able to maintain the minimum enrollment since the 2005 school year when it had 120 cadets.

Since then, the program has varied in size from 88 to the current 77.

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