Parents and students devastated over news Riverpoint Academy will close

Families of students who attend Riverpoint Academy say they are devastated over the news that the school will close this fall.

Tuesday night the Mead School Board approved budget cuts to make up for a $12 million budget gap. The budget cuts included the closing of M.E.A.D. and Riverpoint Academy alternative schools. Riverpoint Academy itself has nearly 200 students.

Students and parents who heard the news say they were crushed to learn their school would no longer be an option next year.

“It felt like I got hit in the gut,” said Traci Logan Demus, who has a son attending Riverpoint Academy.

“Once they said it and passed the bill, it was literally unbelievable. We couldn’t get out of our seats. It was, like, literally crying the whole way back home,” said Kate Burke, a Junior at the school.

Riverpoint Academy is a project-based STEM school with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. Students work with professionals in the community to work on projects for clients.

Many students say they were not succeeding in a traditional classroom, but Riverpoint Academy helped turn that all around.

“Public school… I didn’t do really much homework. I didn’t fit in, I just kind of went by just to get by. And then I came here and I found a lot more friends and a lot more opportunities,” said Isaac Mann, a Junior at the school.

Parents say they won’t allow the school to close without a fight.

“My immediate thought was to go to social media and figure out how can we rally, how can we fight, what are our options? What else can we still do? We’re not going down. I want to at least be able to look at my child later and say ‘we did everything we could. If it doesn’t work out, I fought as hard as I could, we did everything we could to try and advocate for you,'” Demus said.

They aren’t sure what their next step is, but say the district is making a mistake by closing the school. Parents say their students just can’t go back to a traditional school and without Riverpoint Academy, they don’t know where to go next.

“It is going to be a disaster. They just lost their home,” said Brandi Snow, the mother of a female student.

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