Updates on Rainier and Bargaining

Update on bargaining
We have sunshined our proposals and are prepared to start negotiating our first contract. Unfortunately, Summit has thus far refused to schedule bargaining until after the March board meeting. We are still pushing their bargaining team to begin discussions earlier, as we want to preserve as much time as possible before the end of the school year for negotiations on our key issues: teacher retention, student supports, and teacher voice in decision-making. 

If you want more information about the legal rationale for starting bargaining now, see this FAQ.

News regarding Rainier
We are continuing to advocate for the needs of our Rainier students, families and teachers as they prepare for the closure of their school. We have helped to file a complaint with the Santa Clara County Board of Education to advocate for increased transparency in board discussions and address concerns regarding the failure of Summit to inform the community during the decision-making process regarding the closure of Rainier. 

Following a public records request, we have documentation that deliberate decisions were made to keep discussions of Rainier’s impending closure off public board agendas and to avoid informing the Rainier community of the ongoing discussions related to San Jose facilities. 

From the complaint: After ESUHSD Superintendent Chris Funk sent an email to Summit CEO Diane Tavenner asking if real estate negotiations should be disclosed on the September 12, 2019 ESUHSD Board agenda, Tavenner wrote in an August 20 email to executives from Summit and KIPP:
“My instinct is that we want to start discussions in September and that we do not want to make a formal request of the [ESUHSD] board (this would be a very bad strategy for managing the Summit community).”

Josh Lotstein, COO of Summit, responded to Tavenner:
“My instinct is similar and my wondering if whether a memo to the board is public. If it is, I think that would be very bad for the same reason a formal request would be unless we had a strategy for engaging the Rainier community between now and September 12. I don’t think we would want them to find out about this from a ESUHSD board meeting. If we think starting in September is best for the success of the swap and this will be public at the September board meeting, then I think we would want to prepare the Rainier community accordingly…”

This apparently deliberate decision to keep the Rainier community in the dark about the closure of their school in an effort to “manage” them shows a lack of respect for the law and for an important part of our Summit community. We want to ensure increased transparency for future board discussions on all important issues that affect our students, families, and teachers. 

We are in continued negotiations regarding the layoff and transfer rights of Rainier faculty, especially for those who are seeking transfer to other Summit campuses for next year. We are also continuing to push Summit to provide transportation for students who wish to transfer to Tahoma (see our latest proposal here).

Rainier families have repeatedly requested that Summit provide busing; so far, Summit has stated the most it can do is to provide VTA (public transit) passes. It would take current Rainier students who walk, bike, or skate to school 1.5 hours one way on a VTA bus to get to Tahoma, versus 20 minutes on a private bus. Rainier families have repeatedly cited transportation as a primary factor in whether or not they wish to transfer to Tahoma next school year, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our organization is fulfilling its promise to provide support to all our San Jose families who wish to continue to attend a Summit school.