December 12, 2012 - We applaud Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost and the current Board of Education for their recent decision to establish tuition-free, full-day kindergarten, effective with the 2013-2014 school year.
Board of Education President Venki Palamand put it best in a letter to the editor in today's Call: "… Perhaps the district's most significant decision occurred just two weeks ago. The Mehlville Board of Education voted to give kindergartners, starting next year, the 'Gift of Time.' The approval of tuition-free, full-day kindergarten, or FDK, will give hundreds of children per year more instructional time in the classroom."
Knost rightly termed the board's vote to approve full-day kindergarten historic.
"For us to be able to offer what we feel is needed and appropriate for the curriculum without tuition is historic," he told the Call's Kari Williams, "and I would say it's historic because in years past these kinds of decisions were attempted to be made with a ballot."
We believe the approval of tuition-free, full-day kindergarten is just another step in the forward motion the district has experienced under Knost's leadership. Since taking the reins at Mehlville in July 2011, Knost has been able to clearly articulate and share his goals for the district with both the Board of Education and the community.
It's no secret the membership of the Board of Education represents many diverse segments of the community, yet Knost has been able to unite the board with his vision for Mehlville's future.
In fact, Mehlville's future has never looked brighter.
Just consider the forward motion on a variety of fronts — increased academic offerings and achievements; construction of the district's first-ever auditorium and district tennis-court complex; and an unprecedented community outreach effort.
It's certainly worth mentioning that all of these goals have been achieved without a tax-rate increase.
Knost and the current board have accomplished more in the past 18 months than previous superintendents and boards did in roughly the past decade.
We can't help but believe Knost and Palamand learned what not to do by carefully observing the gaffes, missteps and sometimes just downright dumb decisions made by past superintendents and boards.
The knowledge they've gained has put Mehlville on the fast track to realizing its full potential as a destination school district.