Selected readings on US charter schools
Thanks to grants from the Redfield Foundation and another local charitable foundation that wished to remain anonymous, the charter high school will not be forced to close, principal Steve West said Tuesday.
“They came to us and said, ‘You guys can’t close. You provide too much to this city,’” West said. “We’ve got enough money to get us through this year and get started on next year.”
West credited a story in the RGJ detailing the school’s plight with the community support that saved it.
The nonprofit alternative high school offers ninth through 12th grades, all the classes regular high schools do, but focuses on art, culinary arts and hands-on learning. The school is free to students and relies on state funding, which is about $6,000 per pupil per year, and private donations.
It was in early February when West informed the 120 students and dozen faculty members that the school would be closing in June because of a $200,000 shortfall.
West suffered a heart attack on March 1 and has been recuperating at home since, but he went into the school on Monday to inform the students and staff of the grants.
“They were just terribly excited,” West said. “It was a big blow for everybody thinking that, after 10 years, Rainshadow was going to close. It’s been a wake-up call for us. We’re definitely going to start working a lot harder to build connections in the community, get our kids into the community, and get people aware of what we do. It will now be a challenge for us to build our sustainability so we don’t end up in the same place next year.”
Rainshadow co-founder Stephen Lafer was thrilled with the news.
“I didn’t even know about it until this morning,” he said. “I’m dancing. It’s a good day.”
West and Lafer said they’d continue working to increase the school’s enrollment and to increase the school’s presence in the community.
Source: RGJ.com – by Guy Clifton