Harambee OK, Crosswinds not so much

After an extraordinary afternoon of negotiations between House and Senate facilitated by the Governor himself, we learned that special legislation will be offered this evening to allow the transfer of Harambee to Roseville. Although there will be no legislation to allow Perpich to take over Crosswinds this year, neither will any other entity (such as South Washington County Schools) be allowed to take the building. Sue Mackert of Perpich said the Governor’s Office and others will work on a path for Crosswinds after the session ends tonight. Perpich wants to try again next year.

Dozens of EMID families heard the call to come to the Capitol this afternoon. Unfortunately, this mostly amounted to waiting for a press conference that has not taken place even now. But some of us did get to see Representatives JoAnn Ward, Peter Fischer, and Jason Issacson head into a meeting with Governor Dayton to request his help. Dayton called Senator Sieben, who later joined the group for negotiations. Harambee, which was left without legislation when misinformation at the Friday night education conference committee made it seem none was needed, quickly found a path to success in these negotiations. Crosswinds, which has generated severe opposition among many Washington County legislators, was more difficult to resolve.

While families were distressed to learn Crosswinds will close after all, some were heartened by the news that no other school system could take of the building this year. Certainly rebuilding Crosswinds a year from now will be much more difficult than simply continuing the program would have been, but it does offer hope to some families who may return once the school is open under new management, and it offers the state an opportunity to recover some of what made the school so special for Minnesota.

Still, it was devastating to learn we are losing the school. We will have to make this last quarter something very special!

Much of this will be the topic of discussion and decision making for the EMID board next week. If you want to learn more about next steps for Crosswinds and Harambee, join the board on Wednesday 5/29 at Harambee.