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Rising costs put ROTC program out of reach for West High

Updated: March 22, 2013 10:26AM

AURORA — Bringing a Reserve Officer Training Corps program to West Aurora High School may be cost prohibitive in the future, but the district is looking at options for students interested in pursuing military service.

LuAnne Kelsey, West Aurora’s director of nontraditional programming and resources, spoke with the School Board this week about what options were available for students.

For West to have a program on campus, it would cost $200,000 a year for personnel salaries and uniform cleaning, she said. Space would also become an issue, because they would need a dedicated area on campus, and they’d have to be sequestered because of rifle training.

“There is no identified space that is currently open,” she said.

In the past, the military has picked up more of the cost to these programs. Because of Defense Department spending cuts, however, schools are picking up more of the tab, she said.

“I appreciate you trying to bring this to the students, but I don’t know where we’re going to get $200,000,” board member Amie Thompson said.

Other options that remain open include talking with East Aurora High School to see if something could be worked out that would allow West students to attend East’s Naval training program. East Aurora has the largest NJROTC unit in the nation.

West Aurora Superintendent James Rydland said he was disappointed that on the same day that the school brought in a Medal of Honor winner to talk with the students, there isn’t a way for students to pursue this interest.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that our students wouldn’t have options,” Rydland said.

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