Excel Public Charter School Has Closed.
As you likely recall, Initiative 1240, a voter approved ballot initiative, paved the way in 2012 for charter public schools to begin serving those families whose experience of the public school system at that time was not consistent with the expectations they had for their children - mostly children from lower income backgrounds, and mostly children of color.
Public charter schools’ lack of access to local levy funding, and the recent denial again of charter access to levy equalization just a month ago, has led us to make the difficult but financially-driven decision to close Excel and focus on Rainier Valley Leadership Academy, which is sustainable on public funding generated by enrolling grades 6-12 and serving 600 students in one building.
Our model is designed to be entirely replicable, and fully enrolled Green Dot schools must be sustainable on the public revenue generated by their enrollment. Excel did not recover from early setbacks in enrollment despite opening its doors with a full class and a waitlist. The apparently acceptable disparity in funding between public traditional schools and public charter schools has also taken root, ultimately favoring traditional schools by up to $3000 per student in additional levy funding that charters cannot legally access.
We are proud and grateful for all that Excel has accomplished in its four years of operation. Excel serves a student population that is reflective of the vision of the charter public school movement, serving significantly more students of color, students with disabilities, and students in poverty than our surrounding districts. Our students have surpassed national growth targets relative to their peers, and preliminary 2018-19 SBAC data predicts our strongest year yet in achievement with double digit gains. Excel’s Computational Thinking program has been celebrated and profiled nationwide.
We know that despite the specific challenges we faced in establishing a sustainable school model in Kent, the broader appetite for personalized college-preparatory education across the state is strong.
We appreciate all that each of you, our families, educators and school support teams have invested in the establishment of our school since we began engaging each community. Each student at Excel has a personal story of achievement and hope for a bright future which cannot be dimmed or negated by a school closure; rather, each of our students carries forward to a new school a new standard for excellence in their own education because of your efforts.