Communication Series Part 10
March 20, 2022
Part 10. Preparation for Open Enrollment
Dear Knob Noster Public Schools Families and Community:
Keeping a watchful eye on the horizon is an essential task of any good leader responsible for charting the course. School superintendents and school boards are no exception to this rule. Charting a course through calm waters is relatively easy. However, this becomes more complicated in times of turbulence. For the last five years or so, the Board of Education and administration have discussed the possibility that open enrollment could reach our state. We have carefully considered what that might mean for our school district and community. Last year, Representative Brad Pollitt, former Superintendent in Sedalia, proposed legislation for open enrollment in Missouri. While that legislation did not pass last year, it did gain strong support. For this year's legislative session, it appears highly probable that Open Enrollment will pass in Missouri.
If we take an honest look at the Knob Noster community, we can recognize some threats which exist related to how we compete with other local communities. While we have a strong relationship with Whiteman AFB and serve as a primary bedroom community for the installation, we do have limited housing. In addition, a significant amount of our housing is significantly aged.
Looking beyond housing, we can assess our community from a competitive advantage standpoint. That begins with looking at our competition. With growing county seat communities to our immediate east and west, we have seen a loss of community amenities over time, such as our grocery store, our pharmacy, many service businesses, restaurants, and shopping, all of which have migrated to these larger communities. While we have recovered some economic activity through recent efforts, such as the Missouri Main Street Initiative, we still are challenged in the area of recovering community amenities and building new infrastructure. This paradigm has caused a great amount of reflection on what it would mean if open enrollment were to pass in Missouri, allowing students and families to drive to other school locations, just like they currently drive for groceries.
With clarity, we determined that one of the best ways to shield against this threat is to ensure our academic performance is second to none. In many ways, we have accomplished this goal. However, we recognize our current facilities will not be sufficient to allow our school district to compete favorably with our local competitor school districts. For this reason and others, we have cautiously aligned for the right opportunity and right time to invest in our facilities to further strengthen our school/community competitiveness and help ensure the long term viability of the Knob Noster community.
Over the last five years, we have seen the academic offerings and outcomes in KNPS strengthen and rise to the top of many lists. While we are pleased with this performance, we are also just getting started. With the recent trend in parent satisfaction, we have somewhat flipped the script for what open enrollment could mean for our community. Over the last several years, we have received countless calls from parents wanting to bring their children to Knob Noster Schools. If we continue to perform as the region’s top school district, we believe the school district can serve as the magnet for immediate and long-term community growth. However, to make this sustainable, we will need to address our current facility deficiencies, and establish facilities that can compete favorably with neighboring school districts. If we are able to accomplish this task, we believe this will be a catalyst for growth in Knob Noster and will add tremendous value for the current and future missions of Whiteman AFB.
On behalf of the KNPS team and our 1900 students, thank you for your time in reviewing this communication series. As always, my door is open to you and our community if you would like more information. Knob Noster Public Schools – Our Mission Is Student Success!
Jerrod Wheeler, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
March 22 Community Forum: Updates on Site Orientation Proposal
Our Mission Is Student Success