Communication Series Part 7
February 27, 2022
Part 7. Overview of the DCIP and Infrastructure Bill
Dear Knob Noster Public Schools Families and Community:
Following three years of advocacy and engagement with our Congressional Delegation and military leadership, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a new line item called the Defense Communities Infrastructure Program (DCIP). Further advocacy over the last year helped secure $50 million in funding in the 2020 NDAA and $60 million in the 2021 NDAA. Current advocacy is focused on securing $100 million in the next few years, and beyond. This funding will produce grant opportunities to support community-based projects which support our military installations, such as our High School Innovation project.
The Association of Defense Communities (ADC) is the leading national organization championing the DCIP program. The Knob Noster High School Innovation Campus proposal was one of 30 original projects taken forward to advocate for this funding. ADC continues to regularly engage Knob Noster Public Schools in national-level events to share our partnership story and highlight our partnership with Whiteman AFB. In 2021, ADC appointed Superintendent Jerrod Wheeler to its Board of Directors with the specific purpose to advocate for military-connected students. Through this work, the district has secured favorable posture and momentum toward being recognized as a strong candidate for DCIP funding.
In 2020, Governor Mike Parson, Senator Roy Blunt, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler all endorsed the Knob Noster High School Innovation Campus for DCIP funding. The current and past two Wing Commanders at Whiteman AFB have pledged full support to this project. All remain supportive of this project moving forward.
In the wake of the COVID recovery efforts, the newly passed infrastructure package presents an abundance of new opportunities for schools. Among many priorities, the funding will support ongoing digital equity issues to expand broadband, it will support school bus modernization, safe routes to bike and walk to school, and a host of other opportunities which may be creatively and strategically blended to support the proposed Knob Noster High School Innovation Campus project.
As we have learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government will continue to produce funding opportunities that can be channeled to support our students locally. Regardless of political affiliation or sentiments, we recognize that this money will be allocated somewhere. Accordingly, it is important that we take steps to qualify or position Knob Noster Public Schools to receive every dollar available to support our school, our families, our community, and our installation.
With arguably more grant funding available than at any other time in our nation’s history, we are moving forward with optimism and high expectations that our proposed project will be funded. We will continue to work with our elected officials to achieve support on all bases until this project is completed.
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
Next Community Forum: Tuesday, March 22
Our Mission Is Student Success