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Mead SD closes M.E.A.D, Riverpoint Academy in $11.3M budget reduction

The cuts include the closure of Riverpoint Academy and M.E.A.D Program, which will save the district $1.6 million.

MEAD, Wash — The Mead School Board approved $11.3 million in cuts to the district budget on Tuesday night.

According to the resolution, the district will make cuts in 43 different areas to make up the difference in a $12 million deficit.

The cuts include the closure of Riverpoint Academy and M.E.A.D Program, which will save the district $1.6 million.

Administrative, elementary, secondary and curriculum training funds are also being cut to save the district $527,800, according to the resolution.

The cuts will impact certified and classified staff members such as custodians, paraeducators, administrative assistants and some teaching positions for special education and Early Language Learner programs.

Districts around the state are facing similar budget shortfalls, most of them attributing it to fallout of the McCleary Decision. Like Spokane Public Schools, Mead cited the cap on local levies instituted by the state and upcoming statewide mandates that the district says are underfunded.

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The board made the decision after hearing public comment from 96 people at board meetings. Another 350 community members voiced their comments online.

RELATED: Mead students, staff and families ask school board to save programs on the chopping block

RELATED: Riverpoint Academy faces possible closure due to budget cuts

After the budget reductions were agreed upon, Board President Carmen Green released a statement on the district's website.

The statement reads:

This board has taken very seriously the task of budget reductions during these past weeks. It is no small task to cut nearly $12 million from a budget and position us to deliver the high quality academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs we have traditionally offered students in the Mead School District. Our community has generously offered levy tax dollars to support services to students where the Washington State prototypical school funding model falls dramatically short from reality. Our focus is to keep as many certificated staff to deliver critical teaching, and classified staff to support them, as is financially possible.

While all of the budget cuts we are approving are extremely difficult, the decision to close both M.E.A.D. and Riverpoint Academy has been particularly hard. As a board we understand the value and positive impact both programs have had, and currently have, on students. Our decision is strictly based on the need to address a nearly $12 million budget shortfall while still being able to deliver quality instruction to all.

Moving forward the board will be establishing a community Task Force to explore and make recommendations on how best to serve all students with a wide variety of learning options. As funds become available we want to assure you we are committed to expanding learning opportunities for all students.

Communication to the staff of both M.E.A.D. and Riverpoint Academy happened earlier today (May 7), and conversations with students are planned for first thing tomorrow morning (May 8). Counselors from Mead High School and Mt. Spokane will be available to begin the process of talking individually with each student to help with the transition to Mead High, Mt. Spokane, Five Mile Prairie or another option that fits their particular circumstance. We have started the process of working with our secondary principals on specific, concrete ways to support and provide the best possible pathway moving forward for these students. We want to make sure we have solid systems in place to support their learning.

Read a full copy of the 2019-2020 Modified Educational Program for the district below: