Letter to Staff & Community Regarding Denali’s Closure

Dear Summit families, students, and faculty,

At 4pm on Thursday, February 16th, Summit Public Schools announced that they are sending a “recommendation to the Summit Public Schools Board that they take action on Denali’s closure at their meeting on March 2nd”. We are shocked by this news and deeply disappointed in Summit’s decision to recommend Denali’s closure.

Since the announcement to families on January 11th, we have analyzed Summit’s finances, and found inconsistencies with their accounting and business practices (including closing a school they only recently opened after making large investments in the Sunnyvale property, as well telling the board that they are financially stable as recently as October of 2022). We have worked with the authorizer Santa Clara County Board of Education (SCCOE) to pressure Summit to keep Denali open. We have collaborated with the Denali Parent Organization with our actions and information to try to understand why Summit would hurt hundreds of students and faculty members. We organized multiple actions at all school sites to stand in solidarity with Denali and our rights as educators. On January 11th, we sent a demand to bargain to Summit, who delayed two full weeks and countless emails before acknowledging that they had to bargain with Unite Summit (The first meeting was on February 8th, the second February 17th).

When Summit says they have not “yet seen a new idea that will enable Denali to thrive into the future”, we question how hard they were looking for one. Not once in the past few years have they approached the teachers or families to collaborate on the issues arising. Additionally, as recently as on Wednesday, February 15th, Summit leadership told SCCOE that they would continue to strategize and collaborate on how to save Denali for the upcoming years. In total, it took just 36 days for Summit to go from saying “possible closure” to “definite closure”. This is not okay.

Summit’s lack of collaboration or clarity has resulted in families, students, and teachers scrambling to figure out what’s next. They gave no consideration to what the students or families need in order to find soft landings either at one of the other Summit sites or alternate school options. They are refusing to collaborate with Denali teachers to give assurances or a fair process for their involuntary transfer to another school site. Summit is continuously attempting to circumvent their obligation to bargain by continuing a hiring process that is unclear, potentially violating our union rights, and uncooperative with the needs of their teachers.

Summit does hold the ultimate power of decision for Denali. They are not legally accountable to staff, teachers, students, and families in our collective demands to keep Denali open, and it is clear that they will do their minimum obligation and ignore all else; not to care for students, families, or staff.

We can make them care. With our collective voices, we can turn the heat up so high that they have to at least hear our demands. We take inspiration from our colleagues at OUSD who saved multiple school closures just a year ago. We urge everybody to band together and to stand tall in solidarity; to help our students, families, and faculty…to provide safe spaces, security, and a dependable future.

Unite Summit is committed to our mission to help make Summit a better place to work. Right now, that will be to continue our demands that Summit fulfill their legal obligations and bargain the impacts of the layoffs with Denali’s closure. We will continue to fight to protect ALL of our teachers, because we are all Unite Summit. The teachers have rights, and Summit Public Schools needs to learn to respect them.

We are strong, and we are even stronger together. If Summit’s board goes through with this closure on March 2nd, let it be under the pressure of our defiant eyes and drowned by the hundreds of voices that they choose to ignore.

In solidarity,

Justin, Fuchsia, Sam, Dan, and Jessica
Unite Summit Leadership

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