Highline School District and Rainier Prep Charter School

Below is a letter from Feb. 2014 from Superintendent Susan Enfield of Highline SD that I believe was originally for her staff but was also later handed out to Rainier Prep parents (but not by Enfield.) 

You'll note two things.

She says Highline wasn't part of the application process but they did provide a "letter of support."  Any letters of support become part of the public record for a proposed charter school so yes, it was part of the entire process of review by the Charter Commission.

Second, not one single word about any lawsuits. That's not necessarily Enfield's duty but Rainier Prep decided to hand this out to prospective parents to show them - what? - cooperation on the part of the district their residence is in? And yet Rainier Prep didn't have the good grace to let those prospective parents know that the charter school law had lost in a lower court and was now moving onto the Supreme Court.

I also like Enfield's positive belief that the Highline students who leave in 6th grade will come back in 9th.  Did it not occur to her that yet another charter school could open in her district - a high school - and continue to take her students?

February 19, 2014 - Charter School Start-up in Highline
Hello Everyone,

You may have recently heard news that the Washington State Charter School Commission has approved a number of charter school applications, including one here in Highline.  Rainier Prep Charter School was approved to create a school for grades 5-8 within the boundaries of Highline Public Schools.

Highline Public Schools is not an authorizer of charter schools, and we were not involved in Rainier Prep’s application or the approval process. (Proposed charter schools must go through a process to be authorized by the Washington State Charter Commission or another organization approved by the State Board of Education to authorize charter schools.) We did, however, provide a letter of support for the school, based on my experience with the school’s leadership and my belief that we can partner with them to provide high quality options for our students.

Since the state has granted the charter and Rainer Prep will draw students from Highline elementary schools, I feel strongly it is in the best interests of the district and our students to work as partners. When Rainier Prep students leave 8th grade, they will rejoin us for high school.  Having similar expectations will ensure a smooth transition, which we want for all of our students.

Rainier Prep is not scheduled to open until the fall of 2015. It will open with 5th and 6th grades and add a new grade each year as students roll up to the next grade level.  A location for the school has not been identified yet.

We are currently meeting with the leadership of Rainier Prep to identify areas in which we can partner, including academics (professional development, for example) and operations (sharing transportation, for example.)  At this point, we have not entered any agreements. I am committed to keeping you informed as we continue to have conversations with the leadership of Rainier Prep.


Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Highline Public Schools
phone    206-631-3070


Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Enfield must know that Sierra the founder of Seattle's Summit-Sierra sole charter is already down the path of opening a second charter in West Seattle. An easy place to recruit Highline kids. Bet in fact it is part of Sierra's strategy to fill the school. Bus up the White Center kids. That means a loss of Highline funding. Highline can't fund the schools it has.

FOIA SEZ said…

Rainier Prep is putting public funds into a private account.

I've requested bank statements, but Rainier Prep told me they are busy educating students.(!) I will receive the documents after the legislative special session- ends.

Anonymous said…
Well - FOIA, sort of, but I don't think it's quite as nefarious as you seem to be implying - at least from my reading.

Maybe not the coolest way to handle funding delays, but assuming it's all tracked, documented and matched up, I'm not sure it's "technically" bad - but not my area of expertise whatsoever, so I could be totally wrong ;)

FOIA SEZ said…
Perhaps you are correct, reader47. I do feel a sense of concern about a public entity putting public funds into a private account, though.
Eric B said…
I dunno, I can't see this as double dealing by Enfield. Yeah, if I were on the Highline school board, I probably wouldn't like the letter of support. On the other hand, if the board knew/approved, she's not too far out on a limb. The issue of not mentioning the lawsuit is stretching pretty far, too. I don't know what school district anywhere discloses all the lawsuits that might have major impacts on them to all prospective students. Lord knows the SPS one would be a long list.
Anonymous said…

The article indicates that Inslee will let everyone know on Friday about the charter bill.

From the article:
Inslee has not scheduled action on the bill designed to save Washington's charter schools, but has until Saturday to sign or veto that measure and others on his desk.

He said after Wednesday's bill signing that he would share his plans for the charter school measure on Friday.


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