The Panther Valley school board on Thursday fired Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Senior U.S. Army Instructor Major Kenneth Markovich.
All board members, except Michelle and board President Jeff Markovich, who are related to the instructor, voted in favor of terminating Markovich's contract with the school district in light of a U.S. Army decision on April 25 to withdraw his certification to serve as instructor.
Markovich's firing does not mean the program will end, Personnel Committee head Anthony DeMarco said.
"This is not a discontinuance of the JROTC program at Panther Valley, but a termination of employment of Major Ken Markovich with the Panther Valley School District," he said.
Assistant JROTC Instructor Joseph Jordan will continue to lead the program until another senior instructor is hired.
Efforts to reach Markovich for comment early Friday were unsuccessful.
According to the motion to fire Markovich, the Army decertified him under Cadet Command Regulation 145-2, Chapter 4.
That document details provisions for decertification for reasons that include: Failure to meet the weight standard in the prescribed time or re-entering the BWCP within 12 months after meeting the standards; failing two consecutive FIS; violating public trust, displaying disrespect, misconduct, substance abuse; nonfavorable National Agency Check (NAC); adverse counseling and failure to meet the requirements associated with the PIP; failure to complete mandatory JROTC instructor training, IAW (I agree with) this regulation; failure to attend JCLC (JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge) without being excused by brigade; unauthorized wear of rank, awards, and decorations; conduct that does not meet the standards expected of an Army officer/WO/NCO, regardless of the instructor's retired status; knowingly entering fraudulent information on the instructor application for qualification; not maintaining a military appearance or standards in accordance with AR 670-1 (hair, mustache, uniform, obesity, etc.); inappropriate contact and/or relationship with Cadets and or students as defined by public law and school policies/directives; and conduct causing discredit or embarrassment to the Army or the JROTC program.
The board did not say which of the infractions Markovich committed.
The board had placed Markovich on paid administrative leave as of Feb. 28. He had been out for several months. Efforts to settle a new contract for Markovich failed twice for lack of votes; a new one was finally reached in August.
Markovich, a 1984 Panther Valley graduate, was hired in 2009 to lead the U.S. Army JROTC program, the only one in Carbon County and one of just 28 in the state. The closest other program is in the Pine Grove Area School District in Schuylkill County.
The future of the program has been in question for months. Jeff Markovich has publicly called for the program's end, and board member Irene Genther on April 17 said the district could not afford it.
"We're trying to improve our (PSSA test) scores, and trying to get out of ... this (financial) hole that we're in. That's prime to me. Prime to me is not training soldiers when we're cutting back," she said at that meeting.
According to business manager Kenneth R. Marx Jr., JROTC salaries and benefits total $155,000, transportation and supplies come to $14,000. Subtract the $60,000 in federal revenue, and the district's net cost comes to $109,000.