GREENFIELD — The Crotched Mountain Foundation has announced that its school in Greenfield will remain open despite previous plans to close it by the end of the year.
Crotched Mountain School provides special education services to students from kindergarten into early adulthood. The Greenfield campus also houses an adult residential program for people with disabilities.
In June, the foundation announced that it would be closing the campus due to unsustainable operating costs.
But in an email to Crotched Mountain supporters Monday evening, President and CEO Ned Olney said the foundation had signed a letter of intent with Gersh Autism, which he described as a national organization that offers special education and therapeutic support to students with autism.
Gov. Chris Sununu applauded the news in a statement Tuesday morning, saying the state has worked with the foundation since its closure announcement to find another provider.
“We are pleased that we were successful ... and we look forward to our new partnership with Gersh Autism,” Sununu said.
As of Nov. 1, Gersh Autism will take over the school’s operations, keeping it open, Olney wrote. He added that the agreement “will also allow our adult residents on the Mountain additional time for their transitions.”
The name of the school is expected to change following the transition, and the new name will be announced shortly, Olney told The Sentinel Monday night in an email.
He said the student count will probably stay at its current level of 60 for now, before increasing in 2021. Most students will be given an opportunity to remain at the school, which will not be restricted to programming for kids with autism, according to Olney.
He added in an email Tuesday morning that certain medically complex conditions are not supported by Gersh, but were supported by Crotched Mountain. These include internal feeding tubes, tracheostomy, complex seizure disorders, complex diabetic management and supports that require 24-hour oversight.
“This is an exciting opportunity — to save Crotched Mountain School,” Olney wrote in the email to supporters. “This also creates new opportunities for Crotched Mountain Foundation. Our Board of Directors is considering future operational models to ensure that our mission will continue to provide transformational support for people with disabilities and their families.”
The foundation’s adult residential program will not remain open, Olney said, which effects 15 adults living in four homes. An offer was made to a different adult residential service provider, Neuro Restorative, to lease the foundation’s residential homes for an additional six months.
“We believe that will give families more time to find housing options in NH communities,” Olney said in an email Tuesday morning.
The email says Gersh Autism — which will provide day and residential schooling — will take over the school’s CMARS and Ready Set Connect programs, which offer adaptive sports and applied behavior analysis therapy, respectively.
As before, Olney said rates are negotiated annually based on school districts and a child's needs.
Sentinel staff writer Olivia Belanger contributed to this report.