August 14, 2018

Summit Christian Academy is a private, nonprofit K-12 school located in Spokane, Washington. The school is approved by Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and accredited by AdvancED, a nonprofit accrediting organization for religious and non-religious schools alike. The school’s mission includes both “provid[ing] quality academic education in knowledge and understanding” and “promoting service to God and others.”

In August 2015, after a work-study-eligible student from Spokane Community College expressed a desire to work as a tutor at Summit Christian, the school applied to participate in the Work-Study Program as an employer. Representatives of Summit Christian and Spokane Community College—which, as a public college, can enter into contracts with Work-Study employers—agreed to an Employer Contract. After being forwarded a copy of the contract, however, WSAC requested that Summit Christian complete a Religious Affiliation Questionnaire and provide copies of its articles of incorporation and bylaws. Two WSAC staff members evaluated Summit’s responses and concluded that Summit Christian was not eligible to participate in the program because it is “sectarian.” Simply because of its religious affiliation, the school was denied the opportunity to provide mentorship and training that “nonsectarian” employers are permitted to provide.

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