Help us keep our kids’ education local and Black River Academy sustainable

LUDLOW, Vt. – Since the overwhelmingly positive mandate to move the Ludlow and Mount Holly school districts to school choice and thus widening the educational opportunities for all children in our towns, we have gotten to work to not only expand our children’s choices but to also preserve the almost 200-year tradition of educating children at Black River Academy, the home of Calvin Coolidge and the Presidents.

Our accomplishments and current tasks:

We have formed a board that brings together community members, parents and teachers from our communities. We have reinstated the name “Black River Academy” and registered it as a non-profit with the state of Vermont. Representatives from Fletcher Farm and the Black River Academy Museum have come and spoken to us about establishing collaboration. We will be filing for our non-profit status with the IRS early in the new year. We are working to establish a study of financial feasibility and exploring funding options. We are drawing up the mission statement and core values of Black River Academy.

What we envision Black River Academy to be:

Black River Academy shall be a school accessible to all children in our communities. Black River Academy shall preserve and build on the strengths of our current high school. Black River Academy shall be built into the fabric of our communities and utilize the wealth of resources we have.

We aim to have as smooth a transition as possible for pupils and staff from the current high school to the new independent Black River Academy. It is our goal to make sure that all children in both communities have easy access to transportation to the new independent Black River Academy if they wish to attend it. We will work towards seeking full approval from the Vermont Agency of Education and accreditation from the National Association of Independent Schools.

What you can do to help:

Join us at our meetings to make your voice and vision heard, and help us shape the new school. Donate, it you can, as we need to raise about $1,000 for the IRS non-profit application and to help us build a website.

Spread the word: We are not trying to take away local education. It is our goal to take Black River Academy into a long and sustainable future.

In regards to the recent petition for a revote, Uli Donohue, BRISC chair, said, “If a revote in Ludlow on the Act 46 merger between Ludlow and Mount Holly school districts results in a ‘no’ vote, there will be no school choice for children in Mount Holly or Ludlow for middle and high school and therefore tuition will continue to be paid only to the public Black River Middle and High School, this will make the effort to open Black River Academy as an independent school impossible. The Black River Independent School Committee is convinced that school choice and an independent school option in the Ludlow-Mount Holly School district are the best way to preserve local middle and high school education with a sustainable future, while offering our students the best educational options for their individual needs. We will continue to work to this end as we believe it to be the most desirable way forward for our communities.”

Our next meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 9 starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Black River High School library. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/blackriverindependentschool or send a check made out to ‘Black River Academy INC.’ to Black River Academy, PO Box 485, Ludlow, VT 05149. Contact us at blackriveracademy@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Help us take Black River Academy to 200 years and beyond!

BRISC members:

Uli Donohue – Chair

John Bannon – Co-Chair

Kristin Veysey – Secretary

Amanda Frank – Treasurer

Rai d’Honore

Kristen Garvey

Sherri Geimer

Craig Hutt Vater

Colin McKaig

Paul Orzechowski

Melissa Perrino

Marissa Selleck

Deb Tucker

Heather Tucker

Venissa White