EMID school closure hearings next week

As we learned in a letter from Superintendent Janet Mohr just before the holidays, EMID will hold public hearings on the closure of Harambee and Crosswinds next week.

  • the Crosswinds hearing will be on Wednesday, January 9 at 6:30pm at Crosswinds
  • the Harambee hearing will be on Thursday January 10 at 6:30pm at Harambee

These hearings are being called “closure” hearings because for statutory reasons EMID has to “close” the schools in order to hand them off to new management. In fact, we all hope that the schools do stay open under new management, but that is not a certainty.

For Harambee the path forward looks fairly clear. Roseville (ISD 623) has presented a compelling proposal to the EMID board that would keep the school more or less intact, with much of the same staff and program, allowing current students to continue to attend. So for Harambee, “closure” will probably mean “opening next year as a Roseville public school.”

For Crosswinds the path forward is much more complicated. South Washington County (ISD 833) and Northeast Metro (ISD 916) have both made proposals that would essentially close the school as we know it. They would reuse the building for new programs with new staff and new students. However, there is a third proposal from the Perpich Center for Arts Education that would carry Crosswinds as we know it forward with much of the program we know and love and an opportunity for staff who want to stay to keep building a unique and attractive community in the school.

The complexity arises because Perpich is not a traditional public school, it is a stand-alone state agency. As such, it needs to seek legislative authority and funding to take on the management of Crosswinds. This means we cannot know whether Perpich will even be able to take on Crosswinds till the current legislative session is nearly over, in May or June.

The bottom line is that these hearings are very important to the future of our schools. We will walk a fine line of advocating for “closure” (in other words, advocating that EMID withdraw from governing our schools), while also advocating for the continued nourishment and growth of the programs developed at Harambee and Crosswinds by Roseville and Perpich.

If you appreciate the learning environment your families have experienced at Crosswinds and Harambee, it is very important that you share that appreciation with the board at these public hearings. It is very important that the board hear both our support for their decision to withdraw from governance of the schools, but also our expectation that they will work in every way possible to keep our schools open under new management.

In either case, the “closure” will give our teachers an opportunity to apply for jobs in EMID member districts. This means that even if the schools are open under new management next year, there will be significant changes ahead. EMID Families have been through so much over the past few years, it is a lot to ask of you to continue to speak out for these schools. Just know, every voice matters. Thanks for paying attention and sharing your views with the board. If you cannot get to the hearings, please consider writing to the board, their addresses are on our web site.