Tuesday, 15 August 2017 21:09

Butler: 'We're not getting rid of JROTC'

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Carter speaks to the board. Carter speaks to the board. Roanoke Rapids Graded School District

Roanoke Rapids Graded School District Superintendent Dain Butler told concerned parents and JROTC cadets the program is not going away.

The school system reported in a news release this evening several dozen parents came to the school board meeting to express concerns the program might be changing in light of a move to have the Armory become an early college.

Two of the JROTC classrooms currently housed in the Armory will be moved this school year to the Talley Building on the high school campus so renovations can begin.  

“We’re concerned this move will disrupt the program. JROTC is more than a class or program. These Cadets are family,” said Michelle Rogers, a parent.  

Cadet William Carter echoed those concerns.  “I feel like the JROTC program could be threatened by this move.”    

Butler assured parents the program is just moving for classroom instruction.  They will continue to use the Armory for drills and storage.  “We’re not getting rid of JROTC.  We’re just changing where the classroom instruction will take place. We believe strongly in this program and want this valuable program to continue.”  

The district was faced with several options including building a new facility for the early college.  

After nearly a year of planning, renovating the Armory became the only viable option.  

“We were $300,000 over budget for a shell building after the bidding process.  We had to decide to either raise our taxes, which we don’t want to do, or look at our resources to create the best opportunity for all students and that’s what we’ve done,” said Trustee Cathy Keeter. “It’s important to this board to offer both programs — the early college and the JROTC option — to meet the needs of all of our students.  I want those kids to know that we value them and we will continue to advocate for all of our students.”  

Trustees also took another step forward in opening the early college in the fall of 2018.

The board agreed to develop a memorandum of understanding with Halifax Community College which will allow students to earn an associate’s degree or  two years worth of college credit for free.  

RREC students will receive college level instruction in the renovated Armory while still benefitting from the amenities and opportunities offered on the main high school campus.

The local community will also have access to evening classes in the Armory that will offer continuing education and certification coursework through HCC.  

Akers School

One of the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District’s buildings is getting a new name and a new purpose.  

Akers School has been renamed Akers Center for Educational Success.  

The K-12 school is for students who need special academic and behavioral attention.  

It’s also designed to help students who may need a smaller school environment to thrive personally and academically.  

Director Tad Merritt told the board, “I’m excited about what we have planned this year.  We’re going to offer innovative, non-traditional approaches to teaching this population of learners, which aids in preventing these students from becoming dropouts.”  

Manning Elementary

In other action, the board also approved the contract for new furniture for the new Manning Elementary, opening in January.  The district’s maintenance department also plans to utilize all serviceable furniture, air conditioning units, and other equipment in the current school at other schools in the district.

“We’re going to use everything we can.  We’re good stewards with the resources taxpayers provide,” said Robbie Clements, maintenance director. 

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