Monetary pledges and donations to keep St. John’s Military School (SJMS) open have fallen short.
Colonel William Clark, President of SJMS was a guest on KSAL’s Friendly Fire Thursday and told Clarke and Nancy that of the $6 million dollars needed to take a first step into a more solid financial future – only $3,465 has come in.
“Currently the school does not have the financial means to open the doors next year,” he said. “That’s not even an option.”
The Board of Trustees announced back on February, 6 2019 that rising costs, lower enrollment and negative media coverage of lawsuits all played a role in the coming closure. A grassroots effort by alumni to raise stopgap funding has fallen short, but the thirst to explore new options is growing.
Colonel Clark told the radio audience that transformation is the thrust behind the Board of Trustees plan to move forward.
“To be an all male, military boarding school in a non metropolitan area in central Kansas is a challenge, so the school has to transform,” Clark said.
“Even if a major donor came forward it doesn’t negate – you have to transform the school.”
According to Clark, some of the concepts that have emerged include a combination of operating a facility that includes a full boarding school plus a five day boarding school concept that would allow students who live in the region to return home on the weekends.
The new model could also incorporate a day school concept that would allow local students to attend. Funding to support these new concepts along with enrollment would have to be realized on many levels for plans to move forward.
Before those changes occur, the last class to graduate from the private boys school in Salina will walk across the stage with a throng of alumni in attendance.
“Graduation will be huge. The alumni have already responded en masse that they are coming back,” Clark said.
To date over 300 alums and their families plan to attend the last graduation ceremony at St. John’s Military School on May 11, 2019.