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Texts released between former Merrill School District administrators


The Merrill School Board released text messages between two top district administrators who resigned late April.

In the texts between former Superintendent Wally Leipart and Assistant Superintendent Michele Jahnke they call each other baby and talk about "not being found out."

The school board released these messages after Newsline 9 filed an open records request in early May related to an investigation into the officials. Leipart and Jahnke had been part of an internal investigation with the school district, but no details or findings were ever released before the two resigned.

Portions of the text messages are blacked out. Merrill School Board President Jen Seliger writing "it has been redacted because we have concluded that the communications are personal in nature, and therefore, are not subject to disclosure." She went on to write "if disclosed, such information would have a substantial adverse impact on the individual. We believe that this public interest is served in not disclosing the redacted information here."

One message from Jahnke to Leipart reads: "If we were found out I'm not sure what would happen."

Later on in the conversation Leipart said: "I think it's a matter of keeping the story straight with Jen and Jeff as well."

Court documents showed that several days after the internal investigations began, spouses of both Leipart and Jahnke filed for divorce.

A portion of the text messages read:

Leipart: I really think the safest and most probable truth since there is suspicion is to say as friends we talked about struggles at work and home. But at no time did we conspire to coordinate separations not have we had any intimate relationship

Jahnke: I agree

Jahnke: Baby are we going to be ok?

Leipart: We have to be patient and we need to keep being excellent at work

Seliger also released the resignation letters and performance reviews throughout the last few years. Leipart and Jahnke both received severance packages as part of their resignations which totaled about $42,000.

The school board is in the process of searching for and hiring a new superintendent.

Seliger declined to comment on the newly released information.

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