School to close its Klamath campus
As chairman of the Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods (KRECR) School Council, I’m writing to explain our serious financial situation, our response to it, and to highlight our commitment to educational excellence.
KRECR is a small charter school. For the past six years, we have served around 40 students a year. Knowing there was broader interest in our educational model, this year we opened a larger campus in Crescent City. Many families enrolled their children, boosting our enrollment to 126.
We have learned through experience-won knowledge that the four components to a thriving school are community, social/emotional, teaching/learning and administration/financial. We now recognize that we have focused our talent and energy on building a positive school environment that meets students’ needs to the detriment of our financial operations.
This year, I’m happy to say we have straightened out our books. With clarity comes reality. We discovered we had made a serious accounting error and mixed restricted and unrestricted funds in response to cash flow challenges.
Accountability and sustainability are integral components of cash flow. Cash flow challenges are indicative of every school, especially in these dire financial times. This error failed to accurately reveal our operating shortfall. As such, KRECR is facing a deficit of $163,380 this school year. This may seem daunting, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to students, parents and/or guardians and are taking decisive action to address this serious fiscal challenge. We do have the ability to respond to this concern.
First, we are consolidating our school to one campus in Crescent City. Sadly, this means closing our Klamath location. Aside from budget concerns, two integral members of our Klamath team have moved on to new adventures. Furthermore, the current Klamath facility does not allow for growth and was never intended to be our permanent home. We met with some Klamath students and families Dec. 20 and they now understand and are processing the unification of our two sites into one. It is hard, but we know that to grow we must be willing to make the right decisions even when they are difficult. We intend to continue to engage with the Klamath community through community action projects and cultural curriculum.
Second, we are contracting for professional fiscal services to provide the missing link we now understand is vital to our sustainability. The good news is, in the next two years, projections show KRECR operating with a surplus and building a reserve.
Third, we are cutting any and all possible expenses this year, and seeking ways to raise additional revenue. Parents and community members have been very generous already this year. We thank you for your time, dedication and ongoing support. If you would like to be a part of the community that is able to respond, contact the school for assistance with your tax deductible donation or other ways to contribute.
KRECR remains committed to our mission of increasing the number of high school and college graduates who are grounded in culture, place, and community. This commitment extends beyond our own school walls. As a non-profit, KRECR operates a College Access Scholarship Fund. We provide scholarships to students attending college, both KRECR graduates and starting last year, graduates of other local schools as well.
Last year, we awarded seven students a total of $45,000 in scholarships. This year, we will send scholarship checks totaling over $83,000 to 33 students. In future years, we will provide another $94,000 in scholarships to qualified low-income students. In addition to scholarships, we provide workshops, transitional support and ongoing guidance to help local graduates adjust and succeed in their college education.
KRECR is home to 126 amazing students, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Our dedicated teachers and support staff, led by Executive Director Bernadette Johnson, provide students a creative, loving, and academically rigorous education.
We believe our students will discover their “appointments” in life through the dedicated efforts of adults. We will not disappoint any of our children. When they struggle, we struggle with them.
At school I hear parents regularly make comments like, “My daughter can’t wait to go to school every day.” KRECR may be small in size but it is big in heart, talent and determination. As the School Council chairman, I am committed, along with the rest of the council and staff, to making necessary budget cuts and providing revenue-generating support to ensure KRECR overcomes the current fiscal crisis.
I have read and I have experienced that in every crisis there is danger and opportunity. Please join us in this opportunity to grow and provide the structures to allow our children to discover their appointment.
Anthony Trombetti is the School Council chairman of Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods.