LANE’S ROTC MARCHES ON
High School Pgm. Spared Budget Ax
Fears that the Franklin K. Lane High School Junior ROTC program had taken their final march were dismissed last Thursday, Sept. 1, after the organization learned that the city’s Department of Education (DOE) would provide funding to keep it going.
Franklin K. Lane High School no longer exists, as the DOE has replaced it with four smaller high schools on its campus, which straddles the Brooklyn/Queens border at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Dexter Place.
Lane graduated its last class in June, and its programs were either absorbed into one of its replacement schools or scrapped altogether. Roopesh Ramjit of the Brooklyn Youth Council noted that the ROTC had initially reached an agreement with Multi-Cultural High School, which is located within Lane’s campus, to take over the program.
However, in August, the Brooklyn Youth Council learned from the director of the ROTC that the program would not continue, as Multi- Cultural High School had failed to complete the necessary paperwork for the transition. Ramjit noted that the documents would have taken only 10 to 20 minutes to finish.
Reinstating the program was ini-
-SEE ROTC ON PG. 62- tially estimated to cost $89,000, but that figure was raised to $220,000 last week, according to a spokesperson for City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, noting that “pressure from Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, Council Member Crowley and Assemblyman Mike Miller forced the DOE to re-evaluate the cut.”
“The Brooklyn Youth Council was also effective in rallying support for the save,” the spokesperson added.
Ramjit noted that he reached out to local lawmakers and the DOE to find a way to save the Junior ROTC program. The impending termination of the organization would have led to the layoff of its instructors and decertification from the U.S. Air force, which inspects and provides financial assistance to all ROTCs across the country.
A rally was organized by the Brooklyn Youth Council and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation (GWDC) outside the Franklin K. Lane campus last Thursday afternoon, but Ranjit noted that DOE officials contacted him earlier that morning about a proposed deal to rescue the ROTC. By the time the rally started at 2 p.m., the organization received the official word that the Franklin K. Lane ROTC would move to Multi-Cultural High School and retain its funding and instructional staff.
“The program is safe and we’ll continue to recruit students,” Ranjit said. “However, there are other programs that we’d hate to see go away,” noting that extracurricular instructional programs formerly operated by Franklin K. Lane focused on trades such as construction and nursing are in danger of being eliminated.
Maria Thomson, GWDC executive director, credited Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and local elected officials for their efforts to keep the ROTC program going and called on the city and state to restore former Franklin K. Lane initiatives at the smaller schools on its campus.