Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2001

Board interested in ROTC if students are

November 8, 2001

It appears it will be up to De Soto school district high school students to decide whether the district will start a Junior ROTC program.

The De Soto Board of Education ended discussion on the issue Monday with a decision to gauge student interest in the program.

Superintendent Marilyn Layman spoke to school board members at length about the military training and leadership program during Monday's school board meeting.

Capt. Daniel Kalson of the 9th Marine Corps District, Kansas City, Mo., was expected to speak to the board Monday night, but instead spoke with Layman and other school administrators earlier in the day.

Layman provided a detailed outline of the many benefits the Junior ROTC program could bring to the district.

"The program could bring in some leadership and discipline that the students might not be getting at home," Layman said.

Most board members agreed that the program would be beneficial for the students, but could also bring benefits to the community as well.

For the board to submit the application for admission into the program, it would need to secure at least 32 interested students from De Soto or Mill Valley high schools. The program requires the board to either have 10 percent of the student population or 100 students planning to enroll - whichever is the lesser number.

The board did not determine which high school if not both would participate.

When Layman was questioned about the level of interest in the district by district high school students, she said she didn't yet know.

That concerned board member Jim Thomas.

"I think it's a great thing that we can discuss in the future," he said. "But if no one is interested, what's the point?"

Layman informed the board that a decision would need to be reached by the end of the month. Board members agreed to look into the program further and would try to gauge student interest.

Should the district start the program, the Marine Corps will provide funding to offset the costs of hiring instructors, uniforms and traveling expenses.

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