April 25, 2011

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE THE NAVY WILL NOT LEAVE STEPHEN DECATUR H.S.

New Navy National Defense Cadet Corps program is a positive step and will allow students to continue military training

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Navy will establish a Navy National Defense Cadet Corp (NNDCC) program.  This program would allow schools that have low enrollment number to continue to have a Navy Cadet Corp presence.  This is in response to a letter written to the Secretary of Navy by the Senators and Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) urging him to reconsider dismantling the Naval Junior Officer Reserve Training Corps (NJROTC) program at Decatur High School.

The Navy will offer Stephen Decatur High School the opportunity to establish a NNDCC program during the 2011-2012 school year.  With sustained adequate enrollment numbers, the Navy canconsider reestablishing the NJROTC program at Decatur High School in the 2012-2013 school year.

“The tremendous outpouring of support from the community was instrumental in the Navy’s decision to establish the NNDCC program” said Senator Cardin.  “It is a new Navy program and its creation was largely due to Decatur High School and other similar programs that were slated to be disestablished.” 

“Junior officer training programs like the one at Stephen Decatur High School benefit entire communities,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’ve heard from parents, commissioners, school officials and students, and they’ve told me how important this program is to students and their families. The program helps mold the naval officers of tomorrow. But the benefit doesn’t stop there. Students in the program learn structure, responsibility, and pride of ownership. I’m so proud of the community in Worcester County for speaking up about how important this program is. They deserve a right to be heard. And I’m proud to announce that the program stays.”

“The decision made by the Navy sustains a highly respected and award winning program. We thank the Navy for reconsidering this matter. We are very grateful to the work of our Congressional Delegation. For our Stephen Decatur High School students of today and tomorrow, this is great news,” said Jon M. Andes, Superintendent of Schools, Worcester County Public Schools.

The NNDCC program is modeled after the NJROTC program with the principal exception being that the host school is responsible for the primary funding of the program.  The Navy will supply curriculum material, selected equipment and the forms and regulations required to conduct the program.  In March, the Naval Service Training Command had notified the Superintendent of the Worcester County Public Schools that Decatur High School’s NJROTC would be disestablished effective June 30, 2011 because it failed to meet enrollment requirements.

Over the last five years, enrollment in Decatur High School’s NJROTC program has fluctuated between a low of 56 and high of 94 in 2010.  The Worcester County School Board has said it expects to have 120 students enroll for the 2011-2012 school year. Minimum enrollment standards require that not less than 10 percent of the student body be enrolled in the program, or 100 students, whichever is less.