Home >
.
Updates
.

Mount Vernon Academy UPDATES

MVA - Update #1 - October 22, 2014 Introduction
MVA - Update #2 - November 18, 2014 Additional Information on Situation
MVA - Update #3 - December 4, 2014 Town Hall Materials   
MVA - Update #4 - December 9, 2014 
Benchmarks Needed & Presented
MVA - Update #5 - December 12, 2014  Summary of Town Hall Meetings
MVA - Update #6 - January 11, 2015 Constituency Results
MVA - Update #7 - January 30, 2015  Fundraising Continues
MVA - Update #8 - February 10, 2015  Financial Benchmark Not Reached
MVA - Update #9 - March 12, 2015  Update for Plans for MVA
MVA - Update #10 - May 1, 2015  Status Report for MVA
MVA - Update #11 - May 24, 2015 Commencement
MVA - Update #12 - August 23, 2015 Special Constituency Results
MVA - Update #13 - November 25, 2015 Public Auction
MVA - Update #14 - March 18, 2016  Assets Help Ohio Conference Schools
MVA - Update #15 - April 26, 2016  Announcement of Public Auction of MVA
MVA - Update #16 - June 22, 2016  Public Auction of MVA Property
MVA - Update #17 - November 18, 2016 Final Update, All Properties Sold
MOUNT VERNON ACADEMY TRANSCRIPTS
The Ohio Conference Office of Education is the official record holder for transcripts for Mount Vernon Academy, which ceased operations June 30, 2015.  Please click and complete the MVA Transcript Request Form and send to:
 
Ohio Conference Office of Education
PO Box 1230
Mount Vernon, OH 43050
 
You may also scan and email the completed and signed form to education@ohioadventist.org.

 
HONORARY MVA DIPLOMAS
Underclassmen who attended Mount Vernon Academy during the 2014-15 school year are eligible for honorary diplomas from MVA. Please email diploma requests to the Ohio Conference and include proof of course completion (diploma from current academy or high school).  Email information@ohioadventist.org for more information, or call 740.397.4665, ext 130.


2016-2017 BOARDING ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIPS
The Ohio Conference is pleased to offer scholarships of $5,000 a year to Ohio Conference students who be attending boarding academy for the 2016-2017 school year. The application contains all eligibility requirements and procedure.  All applications must be received no later than August 31, 2016.

2016-2017 Application for Boarding Academy Scholarship (WORD)
2016-2017 Application for Boarding Academy Scholarship (PDF)

You may send completed forms to the Ohio Conference Treasury Office by:
FAX: 740.397.1648
EMAIL: ksenecal@ohioadventist.org
MAIL: Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Treasury Office, PO Box 1230, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
 
Media Contact:
Heidi Shoemaker, Communication Director
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ohio
Email – hshoemaker@ohioadventist.org
Direct – 740-397-4665, ext 128

MVA - Update #17
November 18, 2016 - FINAL UPDATE, ALL MVA PROPERTIES SOLD & CLOSED


Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
The journey we began together more than two years ago has come to an end.
 
All parcels of property connected with Mount Vernon Academy have been sold.  MVA has paid their debt to the Columbia Union Revolving Fund in full, and their debt to the Ohio Conference has been settled. One of the new property owners, alumnus Isaac White, is said to be working hard with his partners on reopening The Pavilion on the old campus. We will publish those details when available.
 
I am pleased to share that we have granted $5000 scholarships to 30 Adventist students attending North American Division conference affiliated boarding academies.  We anticipate this number to continue to grow as we help Ohio Conference students seeking an Adventist Christian Education achieve their goal.
 
Despite the closing of MVA, Adventist Education is on the rise in Ohio.  Richard A. Bianco, Ohio Conference Education Superintendent, reports that enrollment in our schools is at a record high with 810 students.  This is up substantially from 2015 (691) and 2014 (733)!  As you can see, God continues to bless our schools and our young people.
 
Education continues to be a priority for me and Ohio Conference leadership.  Our educators continue to look outside the box to explore new uses of technology and implement unique programs such as APLE (Accredited Programs for Learning Environments, through the North American Division Office of Education and Griggs International Academy). Youth director Edward Marton continues building and strengthening relationships between our young people across the state with his “Missional Mentoring” program and newly developed technology.
 
We look forward to sharing these and other stories with you throughout this year and well into 2017. Please be sure to stay connected with the Ohio Conference and our Education Department for regular updates and video content.
 
Thank you for your thoughtful prayers and support. God bless you.
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President

Stay connected with us!
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
VIMEO-YOUTH
VIMEO-CONFERENCE

 
MVA - Update #16
June 22, 2016 - MVA ASSETS AUCTIONED FOR $1.595 MILLION


On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustees (MVA BOT) and Ohio Conference Executive Committee (EXCOM) voted to accept bids for the purchase of Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) properties from multiple bidders. Auction bids totaled $1,595,000.
 
“The money will be used to reduce the debt owed by the former Mount Vernon Academy and to further Adventist Christian Education within the Ohio Conference. We are developing a new scholarship plan, ideally making it possible for many Adventist youth to receive the education they need and want,” said Ohio Conference president Ron Halvorsen Jr.
 
MVA ceased operations in June 2015.  The campus consisted of 24± acres and 13 buildings totaling approximately 163,625 square feet. Additionally, MVA had 227± acres of farmland, woods and recreational land, and two residential houses once occupied by academy staff. The remaining academy equipment and contents will be sold at a separate auction, in approximately six to eight weeks. 
 
Presently headquartered in Mount Vernon, the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists continues to operate nearly 100 diverse congregations, 11 schools, multiple community service centers and has more than 11,500 members.
MVA - Update #15
April 26, 2016 - PUBLIC AUCTION OF MVA PROPERTY

Heidi A. Shoemaker

Signs went up over the weekend for the public auction for Mount Vernon Academy property, which has been scheduled for June 22, 2016 at 4:00pm. Previews are scheduled for May 11, May 25, and June 15 from 4:00-6:00pm. The property auction is being handled by United Country Real Estate & Auction Services (http://www.ucrealestateandauction.com). A list of tracts/lots and auction details may be found here.

As shared in earlier news releases, the Mount Vernon Academy property will be put up for auction.  Individuals interested in the property may contact directly Richard B. Schuen, SIOR CCIM, CEO & Managing Director, Corporate Solutions for Colliers International, Greater Columbus Region.  

The remaining Academy equipment and contents will be sold at a separate auction, about six to eight weeks after the property has been sold. 

Ohio Conference Treasurer Karen L. Senecal reminds constituents, "This is a reserve auction. After the auction ends, Ohio Conference Executive Committee and Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustees members will meet and decide whether to accept the bids."
MVA - Update #14
March 18, 2016 - MVA Assets Help Ohio Conference Schools

Heidi A. Shoemaker


Many constituents, alumni, and friends regularly contact the Ohio Conference inquiring what has (or will happen) to the assets and property of the now-closed Mount Vernon Academy.  Conference president Ron Halvorsen Jr often reminds people that “This is a process, it will not happen overnight.”  After months of meetings, committee work, research and visioning, this chapter of MVA’s history is coming to a close.
 
The Assets
Last October, Ohio Conference school leaders were invited to come to Mount Vernon to bid or request any items schools may need.  Many schools were able to obtain much-needed equipment at little or no cost.  Later, several smaller churches received a variety of items for their congregations.  Only then were academy assets put up for auction.
 
The first auction was held in December, with 215 registered auction attendees.  The conference received a check for $46,306.42, which will go towards MVA debt reduction.  Items sold came primarily from the café, dorms, and classrooms. The “auctioneers were pleasantly surprised at how many attended and the money received,” commented conference treasurer Karen Senecal.  Questions regarding the 70+ property parcel deeds were clarified last fall, and the remaining assets along with the property as a whole will be put up for auction after mid-May. 
 
Unique Property
Halvorsen noted during the August constituency meeting that this “unique type of place will take a unique buyer.”  Knox County leadership, where the conference office is located, agree.  County officials have partnered with local business leaders and potential investors to contract with a consulting firm specializing in advancing communities.  Earlier this year, a public meeting was held inviting Mount Vernon residents and businesses to share ideas and hear about potential future uses for the property, which will be included as part of the study by the consulting firm.  Findings from this study will benefit the conference and the real estate company hired to facilitate the sale.
 
Education in Ohio
Education continues to be a priority for Ohio Conference leadership.  A joint workshop was held in February, encouraging collaborative practices in teacher and pastor relations.  Visioning and exploring new uses of technology continue, strengthened by the implementation of APLE (Accredited Programs for Learning Environments, through the North American Division Office of Education and Griggs International Academy) in three Ohio schools.  Conference Education and Youth department leaders are actively collaborating on how to best reach our students in areas without a school.  “Mentoring by Design” will debut this spring with regional gatherings of youth to explore how best to use technology to connect these young people, both “virtually” and in-person.
 
After the sale of the MVA property and assets, conference committees and leadership will be charged with outlining a plan for how monies will best be used to continue the vision and mission of the conference, of which education is a cornerstone.  “It is important for us to remember the (total) value of Adventist Education, and not only the cost or if it is free,” said education superintendent Ken Knudsen. 


MVA - Update #13
November 25, 2015 - Public Auction of Mount Vernon Academy Items


Mount Vernon Academy items will be available at a public auction on Wednesday, December 2nd.

On August 23, Ohio Conference constituents voted to permit the sale of MVA assets.

Auction details may be found at this link.
The auctioneer will be selling in two rings all day on December 2nd. The food service equipment will sell at 10:00 AM. Auctioneers will be on-site November 30 and December 1 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for viewing.


Please note this is not for MVA land or alumni archives, only contents from inside the buildings (cafeteria, dorms, classrooms, etc.), the motor coach, books, etc. 
MVA - Update #12
August 23, 2015 - Special Constituency Results: Sale of Academy Assets


Ohio Constituents Ratify Recommendation to Sell Academy Assets
Heidi A. Shoemaker


Nearly one year to the day has passed since Ohio Conference leaders learned of the dire financial situation facing our beloved Mount Vernon Academy.  Today, August 23, 2015, Ohio constituents voted at a special constituency meeting to ratify the recommendations put forth by both Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustees (MVA BOT) and Ohio Conference Executive Committee (EXCOM) to authorize the sale of assets of the Mount Vernon Academy Corporation.  Though emotionally difficult, constituents understood the severity of the financial situation, with 293 voting in favor of the motion and 17 opposed.

 

Ohio Constituents Voting

 

The Motion

To permit the "sale of all assets (real and personal properties) of the Mount Vernon Academy Corporation (MVAC), as well as consideration of disposition of conference lands and properties adjacent to and around MVAC properties, should such inclusion enhance desirability of said sale to prospective buyer(s)."

 

The Worthington church was filled with 311 delegates from across the conference, all interested in hearing discussions about what the next step in this journey might involve.  President Ron Halvorsen Jr recapped the series of events leading to this point (visit http://www.ohioadventist.org/article/3/updates to review).  He also apprised attendees of the final $1.474 million total debt owed to the conference by MVA, and reminded all that this figure would only continue to climb. 

 

The Concerns

After hearing reports and clarifications pertaining to the motion, multiple delegates expressed concerns over where and how the monies from the sale of academy properties would be used.  Halvorsen repeatedly assured constituents that the money would go into Secondary Adventist Education in Ohio once the debt had been reduced.  "Every bit of monies that defrays debt will ultimately mean more dollars for our young people," said Halvorsen.  Questions were also asked about the future of MVA endowments, which Planned Giving director Harry Straub explained: "MVA endowments have contingencies when the academy closes, they go into Christian Education in the state of Ohio; they will go through boards to fine-tune what will be done with them."

 

Speaking in favor of the motion, Brian Christenson of the Kettering church commented, "This (sale) isn't just saving the conference money, it's saving all our money.  This is our money and these are our offerings."

 

The Vision

Halvorsen commended constituents who have helped support MVA in the past with a $407,000 annual subsidy, which went to help only 38 Ohio Conference students last school year.  "Do you realize what $407,000 could do for Adventist Education in this state?"  He then went on to expound upon the vision he has for Ohio in the coming years, including:

  • Helping Adventist Education become more affordable for families, and allowing more students access;
  • Strategic day schools in population centers;
  • Scholarships for students to receive Adventist Education;
  • Using technology to aid all our schools, including elementary schools;
  • Network our schools via technology, boosting smaller schools.

 

Earlier this year, an eleven-member Secondary Education Visioning Committee was appointed and met to help determine the future of education in Ohio.  Now that a permanent superintendent of education, youth director, and conference treasurer are in place, "this committee can now begin its work in earnest," said Halvorsen, who intends to remain part of this committee. 

 

The Property

"We are trying to get three bids by (realtor) companies large enough to have a reach around not only Knox County but Ohio, but possibly even further," shared Halvorsen.  "I've been told such a unique type of place will take a unique buyer."  All three bids are expected to be in place within two weeks, allowing the MVA Property Oversight Committee to sort through particulars before making a recommendation to EXCOM.  "This is a process, it will not happen overnight. We will not move forward until all three bids are in place," said Halvorsen.

 

During their last school year, staff at MVA kept track of requests to purchase items belonging to the academy (such as bells, busses, cafeteria equipment, etc.); those were transferred to Treasurer Karen Senecal.  Any further purchase requests may be directed directly to Senecal either in writing to the conference or via email to treasurer@ohioadventist.org. 

 

The Next Step

Halvorsen assured constituents he would continue to update them as decisions were reached, allowing them to remain part of this journey.  "I'm really proud of our church family here in Ohio - we've been through some hard times, but we're going through them together."

 

Regular updates will be available via the conference website (www.ohioadventist.org), our Faithpoints e-newsletter, Facebook, and Mission: Ohio in the Columbia Union Visitor.

Video from the Special Constituency from August 23



Special thanks to the Worthington Church for making this recording available online.


MVA - Update #11
May 24, 2015 - Commencement
The following is a video of the 2015 Commencement program held at Mount Vernon Academy on May 24 at 10:00 AM.
 

MVA - Update #10
May 1, 2015 - Status Report for MVA


Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
Let me begin by saying thank you.  Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and messages of encouragement to MVA students, faculty, staff and even myself.  This has been an eventful journey, and I wanted to take a moment to give you a status report as to what has occurred since the financial benchmarks were not reached earlier this year.
 
Academy Fair
On March 22, Mount Vernon Academy hosted an Academy Fair to assist current MVA students and future academy-aged Ohio Conference students in finding a new academy home.  “MVA has become home to these young people,” said Janesta Walker, vice-principal and MVA teacher.  “I wanted to help them by providing an opportunity for them to see what other schools have to offer so they can continue their journey in Adventist education.”  Thirteen Adventist academies from across the country participated, putting together generous offers to help students attend their respective academies.  These offers included reduced tuition rates, home-leave transportation, and scholarships for our Ohio Conference students.
 
Alumni Weekend
According to MVA principal Dan Kittle, an estimated 1400 people attended the Sabbath of the final alumni weekend held at Mount Vernon Academy.  Many folks described the reunion as bittersweet.  The spirit was positive throughout the weekend.  Interim treasurer Lyle Litzenberger and I addressed the alumni during their business meeting Saturday night, where it was standing room only.  We shared in person with them the details of our journey to this point.  Alumni were clearly saddened, but understood. Senior Alyssa Thompson summarized the emotion of the weekend best during her vespers talk when she encouraged everyone by saying, “God is always with us…what we’re facing here on earth is nothing compared to the eternity we’re facing with Jesus.”
 
The Future
Our two committees, the MVA Property Oversight Committee and the Secondary Education Visioning Committee have been hard at work since their formation in March.  While the details are still being finalized for each committee, I can share that we are making progress in regards to both MVA property details as well as scholarships for our current academy students.  In fact, letters went out this week to current MVA students who are members of the Ohio Conference informing them that the Ohio Conference Finance Committee had approved a special Secondary Education Scholarship for them.  Depending on the type of academy they choose for the 2015-16 school year, amounts awarded will range between $2500 (day academy) and $5000 (boarding academy) per student!  
 
Other plans being explored include scholarships for current Ohio Conference 8th grade students who wish to attend an Adventist academy; strategically placed day-schools around our conference; and utilizing distance learning.  This will enable our kids to remain in our smaller schools longer.  Out of such a tragedy, our dream is to increase the percentage of Ohio Conference students to receive their secondary education from Adventist Christian schools. 
 
Lastly, I want to inform you of another Special Constituency Meeting we have called for Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM at the Worthington Church.  Delegates to this meeting will be the same as those who attended the May 2014 and January 2015 constituency meetings.  This special meeting is the final step needed for the Ohio Conference to be able to address the future of MVA property and holdings as a nonprofit organization in the State of Ohio. 
 
Continued Prayers
As we near graduation next month, I solicit your continued prayers for our MVA students, faculty, staff and conference.  I am encouraged.  After meeting with Mount Vernon community leaders this week, including the mayor of Mount Vernon, I received offers of assistance for those faculty and staff impacted by the closing of MVA who plan to remain in the area.  These leaders have appreciated the positive relationship our school has had on this community for more than 120 years.  Many have expressed relief that our Mount Vernon Elementary school will remain open. MVE was recently the recipient of a new tree planted by the local Shade Tree and Beautification Commission along with a proclamation from the Mount Vernon mayor in honor of Arbor Day. 
 
Please remember you can continue to help our MVA students.  Several seniors remain in need of worthy student funds.  We continue to collect donations for our Secondary Education Special account.  We ask you prayerfully consider the financial support of our young students in Ohio.  Donations may be sent to the Ohio Conference, PO Box 1230, Mount Vernon, OH 43050 or via online giving at www.ohioadventist.org (click on Secondary Education – Special).
 
Thank you and God bless you.
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President
MVA - Update #9
March 12, 2015 - Update on Plans for MVA


Many friends of Mount Vernon Academy have inquired about what has been happening since we announced last month the academy would have to cease operations at the end of this school year due to financial benchmarks not being reached.  Ohio Conference interim treasurer Lyle Litzenberger has shared that $2,000 was received online last month for Secondary Education Special. This does not include what came in directly from churches and by check. These funds will go a long way to help our Ohio constituent students receive an Adventist Christian education.
 
Last week the Ohio Conference Executive Committee approved two subcommittees to assist in the work involved with the academy.  The first is an eight-member MVA Property Oversight Committee; the second an eleven-member Secondary Education Visioning Committee.  The visioning committee has already had their first meeting; the property oversight committee will have their first meeting next week.
 
Ohio churches should have received bulletin inserts for the upcoming Academy Fair Day on March 22, 2015 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at MVA.  Adventist academies from across the country will come and meet with Ohio youth, grades 7-11, and tell them about their schools. MVA vice principal Janesta Walker is coordinating this event (jwalker@mvacademy.org or 740.485.4033).
 
Plans continue for the Mount Vernon Academy Alumni Weekend scheduled for April 24-26, 2015. Ron Halvorsen Jr will be a speaker. More information available on the alumni event Facebook page.
MVA - Update #8
February 10, 2015 - Financial Benchmark Not Reached


Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
It has been a hard journey for us as a conference and school family these last months. I would like to thank you for your continued prayers, messages, support, and each of those who gave of your time and resources to help keep our school. 
 
We had the monumental task of raising $3 million dollars in a short time.  Unfortunately, despite the earnest efforts of many students, families, alumni, and supporters of Mount Vernon Academy, I’m sorry to report that we did not receive enough funds to meet the first benchmark. In fact, as of 5:00pm today we have only received $17,069 cash in hand.
 
A Brief History
You will recall that after considerable study and research the Blue Ribbon Committee, MVA Board of Trustees, Ohio Conference Executive Committee and the delegates at the January 11 Special Constituency Meeting voted a process which called for $1.5 million to be raised by February 10, and another $1.5 million by March 10. This amount would have enabled MVA to remain operational next school year. Since we fell immeasurably short of the first financial deadline, MVA will have to cease operations at the end of this school year.
 
Since arriving in Ohio almost a year ago, I have learned a great deal about our history as a conference and academy. During the last months, I have discovered that MVA has traveled this difficult road repeatedly for more than 30 years and even had a special constituency meeting about their future in 1984.  I believed we had time to work out a solution; this was not the case.  The situation worsened during the last few years, so severely that in August our academy could not make their first payroll. Upon learning this, the conference immediately took out a $700,000 line of credit to help the academy remain open while we explored options. Friends, we have no other credit available to us at this time, and our own conference finances cannot continue to support MVA beyond this school year, even if MVA tried to restructure itself at this late date.  We are thankful for our dedicated Alumni Association who have raised funds to make interest payments on the line of credit. 
 
Why?
It is easy to look for someone or something to blame. There is plenty to go around, but the problem is bigger than any one person, persons or issue. It is the convergence of issues, trends, and factors seen across North America that are impacting not only our schools, but many schools. I pray God will help our denomination navigate the realities facing our educational ministry and find a viable way forward---for the benefit of our students and our future.
 
What Now?
We are committed to seeing this school year through and hope you will join us in supporting the MVA family during Alumni Weekend (April 24-26) and Graduation (May 22-24).  I have been assured by MVA principal Dan Kittle that all activities associated with a positive end of school year experience will continue. We will focus on celebrating the life, history and value of Mount Vernon Academy.
 
We will create two committees, one to find a way to actually have more of our Ohio Conference academy aged young people receive an Adventist education; the other to oversee and care for the MVA campus and land at the end of this school year. 
 
Monies raised to date and future monies will be used to help constituent students who desire to continue their Adventist secondary education in the years to come.   Secondary education will continue to be a part of the big picture for ministry in Ohio, but we will have to do it differently.  Though there are fewer school-aged students in our Ohio families, we want to see more of them receive an Adventist education. In order to make this a reality, we will look to collaborate with more of our ministries to create avenues of support for secondary education.
 
This is an evolving and ongoing process.  I have endeavored to be transparent during this situation, and this is my eighth update since we began this journey.  We will continue to keep our conference family and friends updated as to our progress via our website, Faithpoints e-newsletter, Facebook page, and Visitor news outlets.  In fact, the video from the January 11 constituency meeting is now available for viewing on our conference website should you have missed the meeting or would like to view portions of it again.  Inquiries about this situation may be directed to information@ohioadventist.org.
 
Join me in asking God to help us come up with the best way to get our young people the education they need. May God work through us here in Ohio to help our denomination find answers that matter and will make a difference for young people until Jesus returns.
 
Yours in Christ,
 
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President
MVA - Update #7
January 30, 2015 - Fundraising Continues for Mount Vernon Academy


Many of you have contacted us inquiring about the total amount of money raised to date for Mount Vernon Academy. In addition to contributions being sent to the conference office, there are multiple efforts in the works by friends, alumni, parents, students, the community and other supporters. The first deadline is February 10, 2015 and, once we tally donations received from individuals and groups, President Ron Halverson Jr will share an update via Faithpoints, our website, and Facebook.
 
We appreciate your continued prayers and support for MVA.
 
Tax-deductible donations can still be made by marking your tithe envelope "Secondary Education - Special," mailing checks to the Ohio Conference office, or online (click the red "donate now" button to your left). Remember to select "Secondary Education - Special" for this donation to be applied to MVA.

Thank you.
MVA - Update #6
January 11, 2015 - Constituency Meeting Results
 

Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends, 

Delegates to the specially called constituency meeting about the future of Mount Vernon Academy today voted to adopt a process that we will carry out over the next few months. Essentially, it says that Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) needs a total of $3 million by March 10, 2015, or will cease operations at the end of the 2014-15 school year. 

This was by no means an easy decision, but the 340 delegates in attendance who came together and heard the reports on the finances, enrollment and needs of our beloved academy, courageously and prayerfully voted---257 for; 82 opposed--- to accept the December 2, 2014, recommendation of the Ohio Conference Executive Committee (EXCOM), which states:
 

WHEREAS, EXCOM has received the findings and recommendations presented by the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC), and
 
WHEREAS, EXCOM has received the MVA Board of Trustees (BOT) action dated December 1, 2014, and
 
WHEREAS, EXCOM places great value on providing long-term Adventist secondary education for the constituents of the Ohio Conference…

 

EXCOM recommends accepting the BOT Action dated December 1, 2014, with the following changes/additions to its benchmarks… 

• Raise $1.5M by February 10, 2015
• Raise $1.5M by March 10, 2015
• Any sale of real estate assets restricted to debt reduction and capital improvements and not current operations.

In the event these benchmarks are met, EXCOM recommends the following:

• Develop long-term vision and action plans by March 15, 2015, that will provide steps and strategies for a sustainable future of the academy, encompassing the three core components of Leadership, Enrollment and Finances, as identified by the BRC. 
• EXCOM Personnel Committee will conduct an assessment of current administration and faculty and make the necessary recommendations regarding continued employment or change.


In the Event the benchmarks are NOT met by March 10, 2015, EXCOM recommends the following:

• MVA and its BOT will immediately begin the process necessary to cease operation of the academy by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
• EXCOM will develop alternative options for secondary education for current and future Ohio Conference students including funding options and scholarships.

 

WHAT THIS MEANS

It takes $3 million to operate Mount Vernon Academy annually. If that money can be raised by March 10, 2015, the school would enter the 2015-16 school year debt free with the necessary working capitalIf the money is not raised, we will have to take the necessary steps to cease operations. 

Whatever happens, secondary education remains a priority in the Ohio Conference, and we will continue to seek ways to provide the opportunity for our young people to access quality, Adventist Christian education. In the meantime, we will continue to lend strong financial oversight of MVA’s operations to ensure financial prudence.

The situation with MVA has precipitated a conversation about Adventist education that we will continue to pursue---with union and division leadership and locally within the Ohio Conference family. Together we need to figure out how to make Adventist education viable---now and in the future. As we seek alternative optionsit will take more prayer, study, idea sharing and conversations like we had at the three December town hall meetings and today’s specialconstituency meeting
 

UPDATES

As we have done since we became aware of the needs of MVA, we will continue to post updates on our conference website at www.ohioadventist.org, Facebook page and in the Visitor magazine. 
 

SUPPORT

To lend your financial support to MVA and secondary education at this critical time, please contact Ohio Conference interim treasurer Lyle Litzenberger at (740) 397-4665treasurer@ohioadventist.org or Ohio Conference, PO Box 1230, Mount Vernon, OH 43050Donations can also be made online at www.ohioadventist.org (earmarked for “secondary education---special”). 
 

Friends, please continue to keep the students and staff of MVA in prayer, and join us in seeking God’s direction for secondary education in the Ohio Conference.  


Thank you and God bless you,
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President


MVA - Update #5
December 12, 2014 - Summary of Town Hall Meetings &
Top Questions Received


Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
Many of the more than 400 people who attended our Town Hall meetings (both virtually and in person) earlier this month were surprised to learn just how urgent the financial situation is at Mount Vernon Academy.  Since I’ve arrived in Ohio, I’ve been digging and learning about our finances – both at the conference and at the academy.  These past weeks and months have been filled with intense study, prayer, communication, prayer, reflection, prayer, dialogue at Town Hall meetings and prayer. I write this way because it has been just that, a difficult but prayerful journey.
 
The data we and the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) are sharing has come from a variety of sources: individual surveys with staff, online surveys with pastors and staff, parent satisfaction and referral surveys by GraceWorks, financial and audit reports, enrollment trends, etc.  The analysis of this data is not intended to be a blame game, rather an examination of the contributing factors.  The truth has been painful for each of us to digest.  Three million dollars must be raised in the next 87 days: $1.5 million by February 10, 2015 and another $1.5 million by March 10, 2015.
 
Answering the Questions…
While you can watch for yourself our first Town Hall meeting online, I would like to share with you the most frequent questions we have received during this process:
 
“Why didn’t you/we know sooner?” is our most often asked question.  I first learned about this situation when the academy was unable to make their first payroll in August.  In my experience, this is usually the easiest payroll for a school to make. Upon investigating this issue, we learned the financial reports presented to committees did not accurately portray what was really happening, showing a more favorable asset balance while minimizing liabilities.  The turnover of five business managers over the past six years did not help. Tuition and fees from international students was spent prematurely to help cover immediate operating expenses, creating a shortfall for the start of this school year.  Once this information came to our attention, the conference immediately took out a $700,000 line of credit to help our academy remain open while we investigated. 
 
“Why do we have to raise such a large amount of money so quickly?” is the next question most people ask.  After receiving the BRC findings, the MVA Board of Trustees (BOT) and Ohio Conference Executive Committee (EXCOM) each came up with recommendations for both the long and short-term viability of MVA (which may be seen at www.ohioadventist.org).  In order for our academy to succeed long-term, money is needed to get us through the short-term.  These benchmarks will enable us to be certain there is enough money to fulfill faculty and staff contracts by the April 1 deadline (for the 2015-16 school year) and allow MVA to pay off their debt to the Ohio Conference. 
 
Many other questions pertain to enrollment at MVA, enrollment trends, and the current makeup of students on our campus.  Alumni and parents continually refer to the “good old days” when there were hundreds of students.  Yet the reality is that 26% of Adventists have eligible school age children; of those eligible only 30% send their children to Adventist schools.  This percentage of Adventists sending their children to our schools has not changed.  What has changed is that “back then” 68% of Adventists had eligible school age children so the number of enrolled students was larger. Keep in mind the average age of Adventists in the NAD is 56, in Ohio it is 62, and nationwide the average age for all Americans is 37.  Studies show the continued decline in the number of Adventists having eligible school age children; so unless something changes this trend will continue.
 
Where does this leave us?  What is the mission of MVA?  Are we merely trying to keep the school open or are we here to provide Adventist Education for “our” young people in Ohio?  For other conferences?  These are the questions which we need to answer at the January 11, 2015 special constituency meeting.  We cannot do business as usual, and doing nothing is not an option.  We have been told a second line of credit is not an option.  My goal is to ensure we get Adventist secondary education to the majority of our young people.  How we achieve this depends on you as constituents, alumni, friends, parents, and supporters of Adventist Education in Ohio.  As MVA principal Dan Kittle said, “We can’t have the opportunity to change (MVA) unless we get past this window…we are placing ourselves in the hands of God and the hearts of constituents.”  Janesta Walker, vice-principal at the academy shared “if we don’t keep our (Adventist) schools, people will move to states with good education for their children, which will be trouble for Ohio.  Our children need Adventist Education…our children’s lives depend upon it.” 
 
How Can You Help?
Friends, please pray for our longest existing boarding school, their staff, students, and leadership.  Did you know more than 7,000 students have attended and/or graduated from MVA?  Many of those alumni have impacted the world through various occupations and community involvement, crediting their education and training at MVA.  Recent alumni have been sharing their stories at the Town Hall meetings, about the formation of lifetime friendships and development of leadership skills.  Many want to give to help save their school despite the daunting task.  One alumnus recently commented on social media, “I choose not to put limitations on God or His will…Now I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and donate.”
 
Donations may be made directly to the Ohio Conference (PO Box 1230, Mount Vernon, OH 43050).  Online giving through this website (click on RED "donate now" circle on your left) will soon be available as well.  Please mark envelopes “Secondary Adventist Education.”  Monies received will be put into an account to continue Adventist secondary education in the Ohio Conference (if MVA reaches their benchmarks, these funds will go to MVA; if they are unable to reach these benchmarks, these funds will go to help Ohio constituent youth receive Adventist secondary education).  Tax-deductable receipts are available.
 
As we approach the holiday season and the end of fiscal 2014, we ask that you prayerfully consider how you can help the ministries of the Ohio Conference (i.e., Vision: Ohio) and especially MVA with your gifts.
 
Thank you and God bless you.
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President

MVA - Update #4
December 9, 2015 - Benchmarks Needed for MVA as presented at recent Town Hall meetings

On December 1, 2014 the MVA Board of Trustees voted the following action recommended to the Ohio Executive Committee (EXCOM):

  • Whereas the BOT for MVA believes in the value of secondary Adventist education
  • Whereas the BOT recognizes that MVA is in debt and has no working capital
  • Whereas the BOT recognizes the needs of the campus. i.e.  restructuring and improvements
  • Whereas the BOT recognizes there are assets that can be sold
  • Whereas the BOT will demonstrate their commitment to the ministry of MVA through 100% participation in leadership giving
  • To assure the long term operation of MVA, the BOT recommends the following:
    • For Short Term: Raise $1.5M by February 15, 2015
    • Have 6 months (approximately $1.5M) of Working Capital in place by April 1, 2015
    • Explore sale of assets
    • BOT will select a committee to write a NEW VISION Statement and ACTION Plans for the long term that addresses the challenges identified by the BRC.
      • i.e. Spiritual climate, campus life, leadership and staff, and academics.
On December 2, 2014 the Ohio Conference EXCOM recommended to the January 11, 2015 Special Constituency Meeting Delegates:

WHEREAS, EXCOM has received the findings and recommendations presented by the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC), and
 
WHEREAS, EXCOM has received the MVA Board of Trustees (BOT) action dated December 1, 2014, and
 
WHEREAS, EXCOM places great value on providing long-term Adventist secondary education for the constituents of the Ohio Conference…
 
EXCOM recommends accepting the BOT Action dated December 1, 2014 with the following changes/additions to its benchmarks…
  • Raise $1.5M by February 10, 2015
  • Raise $1.5M by March 10, 2015
  • Any sale of real estate assets restricted to debt reduction and capital improvements and not current operations.
 
In the Event these benchmarks are met, EXCOM recommends the following:
  • Develop long-term vision and action plans by March 15, 2015 that will provide steps and strategies for a sustainable future of the academy, encompassing the three core components of Leadership, Enrollment and Finances, as identified by the BRC. 
  • EXCOM Personnel Committee will conduct an assessment of current administration and faculty and make the necessary recommendations regarding continued employment or change.
 
In the Event the benchmarks are NOT met by March 10, 2015, EXCOM recommends the following:
  • MVA and its BOT will immediately begin the process necessary to cease operation of the academy by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
  • EXCOM will develop alternative options for secondary education for current and future Ohio Conference students including funding options and scholarships.

MVA - Update #3
December 4, 2014 Town Hall Meeting

Watch the Town Hall meeting onlinePart I     Part II


Click here to view the PowerPoint by Lyle Litzenberger, interim treasurer for the Ohio Conference.

Click here to view the PowerPoint by Vince Waln, co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee.


MVA – Update #2
November 18, 2014
 
Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we work together towards sorting out the financial situation at our beloved Mount Vernon Academy.  I want to take a moment to update you as to our progress over past weeks.
 
The Ohio Conference and Mount Vernon Academy have begun implementing recommendations from the recent audit conducted by the General Conference Auditing Service.  Auditors also reviewed academy financials and did not find any evidence of impropriety.
 
Interim Ohio Conference treasurer Lyle Litzenberger is working closely with our MVA principal, Dan Kittle, and his team to ensure immediate financial needs are met. Dan and our alumni association president are seeking partners to create viable options for the future.  MVA administration is also exploring ways to operate leaner and more efficiently without sacrificing the quality of education for our students.
 
“Mount Vernon Academy is facing significant challenges right now,” said MVA principal Dan Kittle.  “Together we are walking by faith, leaning upon the strength and wisdom of God and seeking the support of our stakeholders to frame and fund the future of Mount Vernon Academy.”
 
The Blue Ribbon Committee has met and established their mandate.  They have been diligent and thorough as they analyze data and findings, keeping me in the loop as to their progress.  The BRC will present their report to the Ohio Conference Executive Committee and Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustees prior to the town hall meetings in December.  I have been impressed with the amount of work they have accomplished in such a short period of time.
 
We have set up this special webpage at www.ohioadventist.org to share news and statements throughout this process. You may also email questions or comments to information@ohioadventist.org or share here.  We have already received several suggestions which we have passed onto the appropriate personnel and committees.
 
Due to the holiday season, we believe the most effective way to share the findings of the BRC is through three town hall meetings in December.  These have been scheduled for December 4 in Worthington, December 8 in Cleveland, and December 9 in Centerville (details may be found at ohioadventist.org).  During these meetings you will hear what we have learned, ask questions after the presentations, and propose solutions for consideration.  We recognize not everyone can make these meetings, so we have made arrangements with the Worthington Church to live stream their town hall meeting on December 4.  You will be able to link to this via our www.ohioadventist.org website.
 
Friends, please continue to pray for Mount Vernon Academy and their students, administration, faculty, staff, and the 7,000+ alumni who are located all across the globe.  Join me in praying for the Blue Ribbon Committee and their important work being done as we seek a solution which will advance Christ’s mission in Ohio for Adventist Christian education. 
 
Thank you and God bless you.
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President
 
MVA – Update #1
October 22, 2014
 
Dear Ohio Conference Family and Friends,
 
Yesterday, October 21, 2014 the Ohio Conference Executive Committee and the Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustees met together, along with representatives from the Mount Vernon Alumni association.
 
At this meeting, there was an in-depth sharing of the current financial condition of Mount Vernon Academy.  Together we listened to detailed reports and dialogued for more than four hours.  I believe all of us in attendance came away with a much clearer idea of where our beloved boarding academy is financially.
 
Two actions related to our findings resulted from the meeting. First, the Ohio Conference is applying for a special loan from the Columbia Union Conference to help cover the immediate financial needs of MVA.  These funds will only be used as necessary with the Ohio Conference treasury department overseeing the administration of these funds.  The MVA Alumni association will pay the monthly interest on the loan.  Ideally, this will enable the Academy to retain all their land and hopefully shore up any confidence which would have been lost by the selling of Academy assets.
 
The second is the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee.  This committee is comprised of Seth Bardu (Columbia Union Treasurer), Ham Canosa (Columbia Union Vice President for Education), four Ohio Conference Executive Committee members (two of whom are also alumni), two Mount Vernon Academy Board of Trustee members, and Vince Waln (chair of the Ohio Conference Finance Committee).  Together they will explore what it would take for our oldest Adventist academy to become financially stable and self-supporting in the 21st century.  These plans would not be merely for the current school year, but for sustainability in the years to come.
 
Many of you reading this may be shocked to learn the situation is worse than you realized.  I was as well.  You may wonder how our historic school found themselves in this situation.  An audit was recently completed by the General Conference Auditing Service, and their audited financial report will be available to our committees to review in the coming weeks.  I cannot address every one of your questions individually, so I will issue updates about the Mount Vernon Academy every few weeks through our Faithpoints e-newsletter and our conference website (www.ohioadventist.org).
 
Since this is your Academy as well as ours, we need a forum to share what we have learned as well as an opportunity to hear from you, our delegates.  A special constituency meeting has been called by the Ohio Conference Executive Committee for Sunday, January 11, 2015.  This meeting was called to present reports, findings, and consider plans pertaining to the serious financial condition of Mount Vernon Academy; and based upon the consideration of such information, we will be able to take all necessary and proper action regarding the future of this Academy.  Delegates to this session are those who served as delegates to the 41st regular constituency session of the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held on May 18, 2014.
 
Friends, I covet your prayers during this uncertain time.  Please keep our dear Academy, committees, and administration of both the Academy and Ohio Conference in your daily prayers. 
 
Thank you and God bless you.
Ron Halvorsen Jr, President