School files for bankruptcy
After barely keeping its doors open by raising more than $100,000 last summer, the Seattle Language Academy is still struggling through the recession. The nonprofit — one of the city's leading providers of foreign-language instruction — filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Tuesday in an effort to continue its classes.
Seattle Times staff reporter
After barely keeping its doors open by raising more than $100,000 last summer, the Seattle Language Academy is still struggling through the recession. The nonprofit — one of the city's leading providers of foreign-language instruction — filed Tuesday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to continue its classes.
Wayne Widdis, the corporation's general manager, said the filing will give the school more space and time to try to survive.
How much time?
He estimates two to three months. The academy will continue its classes this fall, but after that, its future is uncertain.
If the Chapter 11 filing for reorganization doesn't provide a solution, the academy may have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — which would mean an end to the nonprofit.
The recession severely affected the academy the past two years, and this summer may have been the worst quarter in its history, Widdis said. Only about 150 students signed up for classes, several times fewer than the normal amount.
Widdis said one of the academy's main goals is to have a positive impact on cross-cultural understanding in the Seattle area.
He's seen that firsthand, he said, citing an example of a female firefighter who took Spanish lessons at the academy. She said she decided to take the classes, paying for them with her own money, because the people she helped as a first responder were often Spanish speakers.
Widdis said he recently met another student who was learning Portuguese — her fourth language. Her goal was to master all the Romance languages.
Christine Davis-Goff, president of the academy's board, is a former student.
She said she started taking language classes for fun but soon saw greater reasons for them.
"It goes beyond individual language ability and gets into cultural understanding," she said.
Even with its financial struggles, Widdis said, the academy is in no immediate threat.
Those interested can still sign up for classes in the fall, he said.
Carly Flandro: 206-464-2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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