Whitmore Academy makes plea to 97J

A majority of the May 10 Siuslaw School District Board of Directors meeting was devoted to a presentation from a potential new charter school in Florence, the Whitmore Academy. The board did not vote on the matter. Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News

Siuslaw School District hears presentation from potential charter school

May 19, 2023 — Expecting a larger than normal crowd for their May meeting, the Siuslaw School District moved their regular monthly meeting on May 10 to the gym at Siuslaw High. It appeared that was a wise move as many members of the public were in attendance, many to share their feelings on the opening of a new charter school in Florence, known as the Whitmore Academy. 

Before the Whitmore Academy’s presentation the meeting began with an open executive session to discuss the situation regarding the son of Marijo and Scott Vollmar. Their son turns 21 years old in July, which, according to current district rules, would cause him to be “aged-out” of school at the end of this year. 

The Vollmar’s son Luke, who has autism and cerebral palsy, lost a good deal of classroom time as a result of the COVID pandemic and the Vollmars hope that some of that time can be made up by extending this “age-out” by one year. 

After discussion, and testimony from the public in favor of giving Luke another year at school, the board voted 5-2 to schedule one more meeting to discuss the matter with the Vollmars and to vote. That meeting was scheduled for May 17, after Siuslaw News press deadlines. Look for the results of that vote in the next edition of the Siuslaw News.

After completion of the executive session the regular meeting began, the majority of which was a presentation from the Whitmore Academy, a potential charter school in Florence, along with public testimony for and against the school. 

The presentation was led by Aric Sneddon, Chairman of the Whitmore Academy’s Board of Directors. 

Sneddon explained that the Whitmore Academy is a tuition-free private school that he and others hope to open in Florence. He explained the school will utilize a curriculum that uses the classical learning model. 

For a full description of what the school hopes to offer visit their website here www.whitmoreacademy.com/.

Though this school would be independent from Siuslaw schools it would still be part of Siuslaw School District meaning the board must approve its application to join the district. 

After the Whitmore Academy presentation the floor was open for public comment, a majority of which was against the charter school. 

To view the meeting in full go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uyCaQl45vo&t=4602s.