WALA likely to close at the end of the academic yearWORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Language Academy has requested an informal hearing to discuss its sponsor’s decision to discontinue support of the school.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Language Academy has requested an informal hearing to discuss its sponsor’s decision to discontinue support of the school.
Volunteers of America, which sponsors the K-8 dual immersion charter school, sent a letter to WALA last Wednesday to inform administration it would not be renewing its contract, a decision that would effectively close the school at the end of this academic year.
Reasons cited by the organization included student performance in the bottom 5 percent of Minnesota Schools, deficiencies in the quality and quantity of dual immersion (Spanish-English) teaching materials, lack of financial expertise among school board members, high turnover rates and poor attendance by school board members, and safety and sanitary concerns in the facility.
“It wasn’t really any one thing, it was just a bunch of little stuff,” explained Lucas Garcia Silva, chairman of the WALA school board. “They were really on the fence about not wanting to renew us. They were encouraged that we have shown improvement; we’re doing much better in terms of test scores than we have before.”
Garcia Silva said WALA has informed VOA of its request for an informal public hearing to discuss the decision, which should occur within a few weeks.
Area leaders, including Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake and Worthington City Councilman Ron Wood have rallied in support of the school.
“We need to make sure that we support all of our education institutions,” Wood said. “It’s going to (involve) demonstrating to the sponsor … this is serving an educational niche here in the community.”
According to state statue, VOA must take final action before June 2.