Potential Merger/Expansion Information
The 3 Primary Reasons to Consider a Merger:
1. The opportunity to provide a seamless PK-12 quality education to our families
2. An opportunity to further solidify the strong financial standing of a merged organization
3. The opportunity to provide additional programing, operational resources, and services to our stakeholders.
Merger Update 4/28/23
Merger Update 4/19/23
As you may be aware, at the WLA March board meeting, the WLA Board of Directors requested that MSA review our list of preferences and non-negotiables for a merger to move forward.
At this time, MSA has reviewed our list of merger preferences and non-negotiables, and they will be creating their list on April 24th. We should receive that list on April 25th. In the meantime, their response to our list is attached below.
On a similar note, I have been creating a “side-by-side” comparison of what is entailed with developing a WLA grades 9-12 program, as compared to what MSA currently has in place. I will be presenting this at the WLA board meeting next Thursday, April 27th, and posting it online on Friday, April 28th. Finally, I understand that this is a slow process, which it needs to be considering the magnitude of this decision, and I hope that we can all remain patient and clear headed as we move through this exploratory process.
Click Here to view MSA's response
Merger Update 4/3/23
Click Here to view document.
Merger Update 3/22/23
As the WLA Board of Directors (BOD), and school administration, we would like to provide you with an update on a potential merger with the Math and Science Academy (MSA). We feel that we have recently made significant headway in this decision process during our February BOD meeting, the launch of our Merger Committee group meetings, and with revising the merger update area on our website.
First and foremost, we had a positive and productive board meeting on February 27th. (It is available online HERE if you would like to view it.) Dr. Mortensen presented a Merger Brief and a ppt presentation that provided data that our stakeholders need as they determine where they stand on a potential merger. In addition to the data presented, the board opened the meeting to allow audience members to share their thoughts. It is extremely important that our BOD and school administration listen to ALL stakeholder input, and it felt like the board meeting was a safe place to share honestly with one another. One of the most important decisions made at the board meeting was for Ms. Pool and Dr. Mortensen to compose a letter to the MSA BOD, which addresses some unsettling statements that have been made in regard to MSA merging motives. This letter was sent to MSA on February 28th, and we are looking forward to the MSA BOD facilitating open discussion on this, as it will aid us in determining whether or not WLA will continue exploring this opportunity. Unfortunately, at MSA’s board meeting on February 28th, Mr. Vetsch stated that he spoke with Kathy (Dr. Mortensen) about our board meeting and she conveyed that our stakeholders were very interested in a merger and in moving forward. We did request clarification on that conversation, and Mr. Vetsch apologized for misconstruing comments that Dr. Mortensen and/or Ms. Pool had said. For clarification, when Dr. Mortensen and later, Ms. Pool stated that the board meeting was very positive and gave us insight on moving forward, we were speaking on behalf of how well the board meeting had gone. We were not stating that our board members and/or stakeholders felt positive about moving forward with a merger. We hope that the letter that was sent to MSA by both Dr. Mortensen and Ms. Pool conveys our true concerns, and that you will stand behind that rather than allowing Mr. Vetsch to speak for us, and/or misconstrue what was said.
Secondly, the Merger Committee groups have begun meeting and it has been powerful to hear from a variety of stakeholders as they share their ideas and concerns. It is important as a board member, and as a school administrator to share leadership responsibilities with other stakeholders. The Merger Committee groups are generating questions for the MSA Merger Committee and MSA administration to answer. The result will be shared data for each of us to review as we all make our own personal decision on whether we support a merger or not.
Third to mention, is that Ms. Megan Nafe, WLA Curriculum and Marketing Coordinator, as well as Mr. Justin Gehring, who is the Technology Director for both WLA and MSA, have been updating our website page with potential merger information. On the WLA home page there is a link to the Potential Merger page (LINK). Once on that page, there are five areas of information for stakeholders to peruse.
1.) Postings for Merger Committee meetings
2.) Minutes from Merger Committee meetings
3.) The list of Merger Committee members, and which group they are in
4.) Documents that have been shared with Merger Committee members and the BOD
5.) A section for FAQ This will be where questions will be posted and answered.
In closing, we would like to thank a number of people who are doing heavy lifting as we explore this opportunity.
Thank you Mr. Ryan Sheak for ensuring that the WLA BOD addressed the “Elephant in the Room”.
Thank you to Ms. Pool for opening up the Board meeting to the audience so that we could all share our thoughts openly in a safe environment.
Thank you to the Merger Team leaders for facilitating respectful, inclusive, and productive meetings:
Mr. Jason Livingston
Mr. Mike Balint
Mr. Ryan Patrick
Ms. Autumn Handahl
Mr. Ben Broderick
Ms. Bailey Bernard
Ms. Rachel Van Heel
Mr. Ashimi Trore
Ms. Lauren Dao
Ms. Amber Brown
Thank you to Mr. Ryan Patrick for taking significant time to share his expertise on mergers and acquisitions with both the WLA and MSA administrators, and to coach them in this process.
Finally, let’s remember that we’ve been through a lot together (incredible growth, non-stop remodeling, getting approved for PK-12 programming, getting approved for multiple sites, bonding, building our new addition, and of course a pandemic!). We have weathered these challenges as a group of stakeholders, who work together, despite at times, our differences of opinion. WLA always has been, and will continue to be focused on providing for the needs of our students.
Merger Update 2/28/23
At the WLA Board meeting on Monday (2/27), the Board make the decsion to write a letter to the MSA Board regarding some concerning comments that had been made at MSA Board meetings. This letter was submitted to MSA's Board on 2/28/23. When WLA receives a response, the WLA Board will schedule a Special Meeting to review and discuss the response.
Merger Update 2/6/23
Greetings MSA and WLA Stakeholders,
As you are likely aware, both MSA and WLA are working to establish, or have established several committees to work independently regarding a potential merger between the two schools. The Merger Committees are composed of a large group of individuals (administration, board members, parents, teachers) who will be working in tandem to consider the prospect of merging the two schools. The large Merger Committees will be responsible for brainstorming the questions that need to be answered by the other school, and collaborating to provide answers to the other school’s questions. Merger Committee information will be presented to administration who will share with the Board of Directors for each school.
In addition to the Merger Committees, administration from both schools is working on the MDE requirements, as well as the bonding company representative, school finance company, transportation company, and so forth.
In closing, we realize that not everyone has the capacity in their schedule to serve on committees, but your input is still highly valued. Please take a few minutes and fill out the attached survey. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Purpose: responsible for brainstorming the questions that need to be answered by the other school, and collaborating to provide answers to the other school’s questions.