Marion County

Marion County students face changes after military academy shuts down over financial problems

OCALA, Fla. — It's been one week since a Marion County military academy closed its doors, leaving students with no place to go.

Students at Marion Military Academy in Ocala will need to attend a new school after their old school abruptly shut down due to financial problems.

Students are given the options of continuing with school choice or home school after the break.

The solution is being called a win-win, because it gives these students the option to stay together and keep a military structure by merging into the Marion Technical Institute.

On Monday, after working nearly 48 hours straight, a solution was reached by district staff.

The new plan creates a "choice academy" for the students at Marion Technical Institute, though much of how it will all work is still being ironed out.

The school's top cadet called it a best-case scenario, keeping the 185 classmates together with added educational and vocational options.

“There's a lot of students that want to do EMT courses or firefighter courses or culinary arts, or child care or whatever, they want that, they want this opportunity,” said cadet Camilla Guerrero. “They want to go straight into the workforce and this gives us the opportunity to do that and honestly, I think, it's the best thing for my cadets.”

The district is also working on obtaining a J-ROTC charter at MTI to preserve the military structure of the students' education.

The superintendent said officials will be leaning on advice from staff with military backgrounds and local Army recruiters to assist with this transition to MTI.