Dear WMS families and community:
It is hard for me to believe that it is almost May! The auction will be here soon (we are excited to see you there – it’s going to be great) and then mini-term and graduation will follow quickly behind. It is a testament to God’s providence that we will finish the year successfully. And what a year it was! Starting out facing a huge deficit. Our executive director needing to leave. Seeing the sacrifices our faculty and staff were willing to make for our school. Seeing our community step up with extra giving to help us meet the financial need. Seeing our accreditation process successfully completed with a positive outcome. Seeing the girls basketball team that almost didn’t happen make it to the state championship game and the guys team placing third and then cheering along with Santiam’s fans for their team — our league rival — to win the championship game. Seeing the mission of Western Mennonite School actually lived out and accomplished every day and week here at the school. In short, seeing God at work through His people here at WMS.
Seeing God at work this year at WMS gives me a lot confidence that He will be with us next year. One of my professors used to say that one message the Bible teaches is that what God has done in the past He will do again in the present and future. So, we have prepared a budget that is cash-positive based on our expected enrollment and normal giving. As with any other business or family this requires difficult choices to be made and we have tried to do so in good faith based on what we believe is best for the school. We will have most of our great team of teachers back and are looking for good people to add where needed.
It is our prayer that we can increase enrollment as this would allow us to do more by way of staffing and school improvement. Our admissions team is working hard to do this. However, in addition to seeing the good things mentioned above, I am hearing reports of rumors saying that Western will not be open in the fall. I can understand why some people might want to spread such rumors but I hope that those who care about Western would remember how impossible it seemed in October and November that we would be able to finish this school year and how God worked through our community to make it happen. I hope that seeing the board, administration, and staff work through difficult circumstances this year would engender some trust that they will do it again next year and seek what is best for the school and our students. I hope that you would be willing to confront rumors (kindly, of course) when you hear them and seek out potential students and wholeheartedly recommend Western to them. If there are areas of the school where you see room for improvement, we would like to hear from you because we want to continually improve as much as possible.
I am pleased to report a number of developments:
- We have found a third party supplier for hot lunch and it looks very likely that we will be able to bring that back in the fall. I am hoping to schedule a “tasting” event before the school year ends.
- We are scheduling band class for students who are interested and continuing our excellent choir and drama programs.
- The budget includes health insurance starting July 1 for our employees who desire coverage. It also includes a small cost of living increase and step increases for those who qualify.
- The Board has approved leaving tuition and fees at the same rates for next year.
- We will be publishing soon some financial information to be more transparent in that area.
- The search committee will be conducting interviews for a Principal/Head of School in early May. The Board is working on contingency plans in case we need leadership in the Fall.
If you have any questions about this information or the school in general, please feel free to contact me. I will do my best to answer any questions. You may also contact Allen Schrock, our board chair, or any other board member. They are listed on our website or you can get contact information from me or Emily at the front office.
Thank you for your support of WMS and for entrusting your kids to us. We sincerely desire to partner with you in the academic and spiritual training of these students so they can be equipped for a life of faith and learning. May God be glorified in all that we do!
Interim Executive Director