Commissioner Bob Welling believes it is important for non-military families to understand the difficulties experienced by military families and their children who are constantly changing schools.
“Military families, during the course of their normal service in the military, change schools on an average of nine times from grade school through high school,” said Welling in an interview with the Missourinet. “That’s a tough transitional theme for them and to try to find the type of education that best suits their children, it’s very important that we have some universarltiy of rules.”
Missouri already accomodates students whose academic careers undergo adjustments as they move from school district to school district and state to state, but there is more to attending school than going to classes. There are activities that include athletics, band, and after-school clubs. Missouri High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) rules often restrict the actions of students moving from one school district to another.
“When you transfer from one school to another the student who transferred is disqualified for 365 days to participate in varsity activities at the school to which the transfer has been made,” explained Welling.
Exceptions are granted in most military moves, but the permanent change being sought would involve “mission essential” military personnel who are required to live on base at Whitemen. Whiteman is in the Knob Noster school district and families living on base would send their children to schools in that district. Other military families living off base send their children to schools in the districts in which they live – Warrensburg, for instance. The proposal is to allow the children of all “mission essential” parents to enjoy school district flexibility.
“There are these cases where we have ‘mission essential’ personnel living at Whiteman Air Force Base, and have to live on base, and they want to send their kids to a district other than Knob Noster,” said Welling.
There is a reason parents want their children to attend schools outside of the Knob Noster school district.
“Their kids went to middle school and went to elementary school in Sedalia, or Lamont, or Warrensburg or what have you,” said Welling. “When the officer comes back for another assignment and then is elevated to a position called ‘mission essential,’ then is required to live on base and therefore his kids are required to go to Knob Noster.”