Board of Directors News 

Important School Property Updates

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  • Please refer to the links to the right for community advocacy templates and suggestions, and copies of official communications from the River Grove Board of Directors.
For Community Advocacy
Communications from the River Grove Board of Directors

 

September 23, 2022

Dear River Grove Community,

We are so grateful for your support for our school and appreciate your encouragement as we respond to the possible Wilder sale of our school grounds.

Advocate Today!

Many of you have reached out to us for specific information regarding advocacy efforts. We have compiled a list of helpful talking points, as well as contact information for the Wilder Foundation, May Township, elected officials, and the MN Catholic Youth Partnership. One of our parent board members, Angie Hong, created template letters for you to modify and send to these entities. 

Community Meeting

We have been working diligently to prepare for our community meeting this coming Monday. We look forward to providing you with a detailed history, current circumstances and further advocacy opportunities. 

There will be refreshments in the “bowl” by our fire ring starting at 6 pm. Please bring a lawn chair, as we expect a large gathering. Our meeting will start promptly at 6:30 and will end by 8:00.

Provide Input

If you have questions, comments, ideas or specific ways you feel you can contribute, please complete the online meeting form. We will compile your input prior to our gathering for an efficient presentation and discussion. (https://rivergroveforms.com/forms/meeting)

We will also provide an opportunity for you to sign up for a 3-minute time slot to address the board and administration directly. Or, please contact Jessica Hansen, Board Chair, or Drew Goodson, Executive Director, via email.

Access Communications

You can access property-related communications on our website under “Board of Directors News”  http://www.marineareaschool.org/macs-board/board-of-directors-news/

Thank you for your patience as we gather information and navigate these new and developing challenges. We are confident in the strength of our community and look forward to meeting with you on Monday. 

In Partnership,

The River Grove Board and Administration


— Previous Communications —
 

September 19, 2022

Dear River Grove Families,

We’d like to inform you of an important update related to our campus location. May Township has received notification from the Wilder Foundation, our landlord, that they are working to finalize the sale of the Wilder Forest property, which includes our campus, to an outside entity that intends to establish an overnight camp in our current location. The terms of this sale would mean that River Grove would need to relocate.

While this news is surprising and disappointing to our entire school community, there are many steps that still need to be taken in order for this sale to go through, including May Township granting a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approval to the new organization. 

Over the entirety of our existence in the forest, our intentions with Wilder have been clear; River Grove intends to own the property or form a long-term partnership with an entity that supports our environmentally focused programming. The Wilder Foundation had previously been publicly supportive of this goal and had engaged with us in partnership to help reach it, including being a part of CUP applications and approvals. 

Over the past several years, the school has formed a relationship with Manitou Fund, commonly known as Warner Nature Center. Manitou Fund has been extremely supportive of River Grove through significant financial contributions and programming support, including a number of innovative teacher workshops on their neighboring property. These workshops have been developed with world-renowned nature-based education and research organizations, and have been specifically designed for our teachers in alignment with our place-based initiative.

It is our understanding that Manitou Fund has also expressed interest in purchasing the Wilder Foundation property. Given how supportive Manitou has been of River Grove and our programming, we believe this could result in a strong ongoing partnership that would provide long-term security and support for our school and the neighboring Big River Farms, both important pillars of the local community.  

In addition to a potential long-term partnership with Manitou Fund, the River Grove Administration and Board of Directors has already begun exploring a purchase of the Wilder property through the formation of an affiliated building company. This purchasing option is available to Minnesota charter schools following the completion of their sixth year (July 2023 for River Grove). 

While the Wilder Foundation’s current position is to exclusively engage with the non-local entity to develop an overnight camp, we want to assure our community that we are earnestly working towards a resolution with all involved parties, with the goal of remaining in our current location.  While we are hopeful for this outcome, we are actively exploring contingency plans which would allow the school to continue its operations in a similar nearby setting. 

However the situation unfolds, know that our dedicated staff, board and community partners will continue to provide an excellent and unique academic experience in an outdoor setting both now and into the future.

We will be holding a community meeting on Monday, September 26th at 6:30 pm in the River Grove Commons to further discuss this developing situation together. As we gain more information, our Board and Administration will provide additional action steps and ways to assist in this process. Updates will be provided by email and on the Board portion of our website. Please direct any further questions to our Executive Director, Drew Goodson, or Board Chair, Jessica Hansen. Thank you for your ongoing support and investment in our school community. 

In Partnership,


The River Grove Administration and Board of Directors

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