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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

PRIDE Prep Middle School in Spokane to close next year

PRIDE Prep Middle School in Spokane, shown Wednesday, will close next school year because of low enrollment.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)

Low enrollment will force PRIDE Prep Middle School in Spokane to close next school year, sending its sixth- and seventh-grade students to Spokane Public Schools middle schools.

“We’re very aware of the challenges that they are facing and have been working really closely with them to support families and students to have a smooth transition back to SPS,” Spokane Public Schools superintendent Adam Swinyard said Tuesday at a news conference.

PRIDE Schools include PRIDE Prep and Innovation High School, both located at 811 E. Sprague Ave., about a half-mile east of downtown. They are free public charter schools overseen by Spokane Public Schools, the state’s only school district that authorizes charter schools.

Swinyard said the school district provides oversight, but PRIDE Schools are part of its own school district with its own board.

PRIDE Prep officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Enrollment at PRIDE Prep and Innovation High School was 452 this school year, according to a presentation at a Spokane School Board meeting in February.

Enrollment climbed year over year from the time it opened in 2015 and peaked at more than 700 in 2020-21, the presentation showed. It declined each year since.

“Since the return to in-person schooling after closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a continuous drop in enrollment numbers in grades 6-8, that will continue to negatively financially impact our (local effort assistance) without this change,” according to an amendment request to PRIDE Schools charter renewal application in May.

The Spokane School Board approved the amendment, which discontinued the middle school services, at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“PRIDE Schools has made significant leadership changes to ensure we are moving into the future with strong organizational, financial, and academic expertise and this team will continue to monitor all aspects of our organization and services for students,” the request says. “At this time, we believe this is the best decision financially due to under-enrollment and its impact on long-term sustainability.”

The request said the closure of the middle school is temporary and will allow the school and board leadership to execute a long-term plan for financial sustainability and student success.

Spokane Public Schools has nine middle schools to accommodate the influx of students.