A local charter school that served 280 students last year from multiple counties will not be around this August.
The AB Graham Academy in St. Paris has failed to secure a new sponsor for next year and will not operate in the fall.
It’s former sponsor, Graham Local School District, did not renew its agreement in December and after pursuing other options, the school has run out of time. Its current sponsorship agreement with GLS ends Monday and it needed to find another organization — a school district, ODE or an educational service center — to sponsor it for the next school year by then to stay open.
“I am very sad,” ABGA Superintendent Scott Howell said. “It was a very cool place. I was thrilled and honored to take over. The kids were wonderful. (It was a) very neat student body that respected each other.
“It was great while it lasted.”
Howell said most remaining students who were hoping to attend AB Graham will now return to their home districts, pursue other virtual learning schools or get home schooled.
Julie Driskill had three children attend ABGA last year. She also had previously taught at the school and been on the school’s board. She too is sad to see the school close.
“It was parents working with administrators, educators all teaming up together — to me that is the greatest loss,” Driskill said.
Her two boys, Dillon and Chapman Driskill, will now attend GLS’s new online GOAL program. They wanted to stay in the Graham school district so they could still play football for the school.
Dillon Driskill had attended ABGA, and before that the Graham Digital Academy, since kindergarten. He said he and other classmates liked the flexibility of the school to pursue sports, take college classes and develop ideas further.
“It is just sad to see ABGA go,” he said. “I think it had a lot more potential than it ever came to realize.”
The Graham district’s GOAL program will offer an online curriculum to students in the 7th grade and older.
Dillion’s sister, Celeste Driskill, is in fith grade and her mother will home school her.
“I’m going to miss meeting up with my friends and doing all the activities they had and stuff,” Celeste Driskill said.
Julie Driskill said she will miss helping out on Fridays at the school with plays and musicals.
She said she may try and plan outings with Celeste’s old classmates, but admitted that might be hard.