JOHNSONVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - Florence School District Five will cut the ROTC program from Johnsonville High School. School Administrators say the district no longer has the budget to support the program.
For the past 11 years, Johnsonville High School has offered the program as an elective. This year's class has 55 students enrolled.
"We decided to cut the program as we began to look at all the different options that we had in front of us," said Randy Smiley, Superintendent of Florence School District Five. "It was a very expensive program to operate for the number of students it was serving."
Smiley says the cost of program is $190,000 each year. The district is responsible for $106,000, and the Army takes care of the rest. Smiley added cutting the ROTC program will bring the district out of the red, financially.
School administrators contribute the reduction of dropout rates and character building to the ROTC program.
"It's a money issue not a quality issue," Smiley continued. "We certainly did not want to make that decision, but we wanted to make our budgets balanced at the same time."
Students and supporters have started a petition urging the district to keep the program.
"I honestly believe I was a potential drop-out, and if it wasn't for the ROTC Program, that I would be a drop out," said Johnsonville High School student, Brian Cook.