Category Archives: Legislative

Crosswinds and Perpich to House Education Finance, 3/15

The next stop for the bill to shut down Perpich and (possibly) convey Crosswinds (HF1825 and clone HF1826) is at the House Education Finance committee this Wednesday, 3/15, at 1pm. Please make a call to your own representative and also consider quick calls to bill sponsors Jenifer Loon and Sondra Erickson. Let them know you support Crosswinds and would like to see it conveyed to the Saint Paul Public Schools this year. If you care about arts education in Minnesota, then also let them know you would like to see Perpich get a chance under new leadership rather than being shut down as this bill suggests.

Please keep in mind that not all Representatives and Senators will be directly dealing with this particular bill at this time, but may have influence in speaking with others. If you have time to look to see if your legislator is on an Education committee or Government Operations committee, these folks will be dealing with this more closely. The more you can make it personal, the better. Like “I noticed you are on Education K-12 committee and I am highly concerned about the bill to close Perpich” or “I noticed that you are not on any education committees but I am highly concerned about the bill to close Perpich and hope you could possibly discuss this with a colleague on an education committee.”

Here are some ideas on what you might say. Explain why Arts Education is important to you. Choose from the topics below, but put them in your own words. Focus on what makes sense to you and keep it short. Ask them to please Convey Crosswinds to the Saint Paul Public School and to keep Perpich Center for Arts Education open for all of Minnesota students and teachers. Include your name and mailing address, and a phone number (though they will not likely call you back).

  • Drawing out a decision on Crosswinds conveyance will put two schools at risk: Crosswinds School and Woodbury Leadership Academy. Please amend this bill to allow Crosswinds conveyance to the Saint Paul Public Schools this year.
  • While I support conveying Crosswinds, I also want to see the Perpich Center for Arts Education serving all Minnesotans.
  • The decline of Perpich services the past few years has been due to mismanagement. Teachers want and need Perpich as a resource and training service for arts education in their classrooms and schools.
  • Perpich has new leadership and needs to be given a chance to turn the agency around.
  • Perpich Arts High School provides a unique Arts education which is available to students across Minnesota. This type of Arts focused education is not otherwise available in many areas of the state.
  • Perpich Outreach is a resource for all arts specialist teachers in the state. While we have many opportunities in the metro area, much of Greater Minnesota does not have these resources and relies heavily on Perpich Outreach for assistance.
  • The Perpich Library is a valuable resource for teachers and educators around the state to check out and use. Moving these materials to the State Library Services Division of the Department of Education will not allow proper access for teachers and educators.

HF1825 Seeks to convey Crosswinds in 2018

Yesterday the House Education Innovation Policy committee held a hearing on HF1825, a bill sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Loon (48B, Eden Prarie) and Sondra Erickson (15A, Princeton) to abolish the Perpich Center for Art Education and convey Perpich and Crosswinds properties to other parties. By a 9 to 6 party line vote the committee approved the bill and sent it on to the House Education Finance committee.

Saint Paul Schools interim superintendent John Thein was present and reiterated Saint Paul’s interest in taking over the Crosswinds school. He again promised to keep the program, staff, and families of Crosswinds intact, and spoke of how well Crosswind’s mission was suited for Saint Paul’s diverse student body. Thein also noted that the year-round calendar of Crosswinds was a perfect fit for the year-round program Saint Paul already manages at Crossroads. The Crossroads K-5 would be a perfect feeder to the Crosswinds 6-10, and Saint Paul’s objective would be to grow Crosswinds to a school for grades 6-12 gradually.

One issue to note is timing. The bill does not seek conveyance of Crosswinds to another party until January 2018. This is an incredibly awkward timing for all involved. For Perpich, it leaves a drain on their budget present for another full year. For Saint Paul, it would require a temporary management agreement with Perpich for the 2017-2018 school year. For families and faculty of Crosswinds, this would let uncertainty about the final outcome fester and scare people away from the school. Both Saint Paul Public Schools and the Perpich Board have asked the legislature to approve a conveyance in June 2017 instead, so that a smooth transition could be promoted.

Another potential stumbling block may be interest from District 833 (South Washington County Schools). Although the district has made no proposal for taking over Crosswinds this year, and did not appear at the public hearing the Perpich Board held at Crosswinds last month, there have been rumors that they remain interested in the property. You may recall that in 2013 the District 833 proposal was simply to use the building for their own purposes, discarding the program, staff, and students of Crosswinds.

Representative JoAnn Ward (53A, Woodbury), in whose district Crosswinds sits, spoke up during the hearing for both Perpich and Crosswinds. She hopes to put forward a bill this month that would seek the earlier conveyance of Crosswinds to the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Parents United Legislative Kickoff

Hi EMID Friends! I thought you would like to know that the Parents United Legislative Kickoff is planned for Saturday, January 10th at 9am. There is no fee for this event, but Parents United does ask that you please RSVP so they know how many are coming.

This is the beginning of a new biennium, on in which the Republican party will control the House and the Democrats the Senate. It is also a “funding year” this year. Come learn more about what all this means for education in Minnesota and prepare to fight for your schools as the state’s budget is built.

Parents United Annual Legislative Kickoff
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 9 – 11 am
TIES Main (East) Building, 3rd Floor Cafeteria
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St Paul, MN 55108
Coffee, rolls and conversation! The Kickoff is free, but please RSVP

By the way, if you cannot make it to TIES on Saturday 1/10, but you want to watch the kickoff, we will be experimenting will a live-stream of the event. As soon as we have details about that stream, we will update this post.

MSR: Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive

The second part of Isaac Peterson’s story about Crosswinds was on the front page of the 7/24/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive.”

According to State Representative Carlos Mariani, who fought for Crosswind’s continued independence, a meeting at the school after the end of the session led to those seeking to absorb the school into another district finally agreeing, “‘Okay. We’ll let someone else run the school.’ That’s when the Perpich Center for the Arts stepped up and said, ‘We’ll run the school and we’ll promote integration with it.’”

The marriage of the two schools would seem to make it a perfect match, as Crosswinds is a school that emphasizes the arts, and the Perpich school, by its own nature, has extensive experience in those areas as well. One of Crosswinds’ features is that it boasts probably the most racially and culturally diverse student orchestra in Minnesota.

The story includes extensive quotes from former Crosswinds parents Eric Celeste, Tami Bayne-Kuczmarski, and Dan Larson as well as from Principal Carla Hines.

This story was accompanied by another Peterson story about the efforts of Dan Shulman to get another desegregation lawsuit going in the Twin Cities: “One desegregation lawsuit not enough.”

Shulman maintains that a revival of the original suit is necessary because, almost 20 years after the culmination of the settlement of the first case, “The same conditions that existed when we filed the first case in 1995 have reoccurred almost 20 years later. And they’re worse. That includes segregation of schools, discrimination in terms of suspensions, teacher assignments to schools, misuse of funds that are supposed to be for integration, and the State of Minnesota has approved and knowingly allowed this to occur and they are responsible for fixing it. [We need] to make sure that we desegregate these metropolitan schools.”


MSR: Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt

Isaac Peterson had a story on the front page of the 7/17/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt.” He begins:

Parents and students in the United States scored a major victory 60 years ago in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which decreed an end to school desegregation. More recently, Twin Cities parents and teachers scored another victory in a long and convoluted fight for school integration. That fight also is related to a lawsuit brought over school segregation.

Peterson gives some history of EMID Families and its struggles with the EMID board, then describes the legislative fight of the past two years.

After a sustained, protracted battle to keep the school open, the EMID Families were finally able to enlist the aid of allies in the state legislature. State Representative Carlos Mariani explained that “As the legislature continued to cut funding for K-12 education, school districts were looking for all sorts of ways to be able to capture revenue.

There will be a second part to the story next week covering the merger of Crosswinds with the Perpich Center for Arts Education.


EMID Families Reunion and Fundraiser, 7/19

Crosswinds and Harambee both have a long future ahead of them thanks to the incredible work of EMID Families and our supporters in the Minnesota legislature. Please join us for this celebration of our accomplishments and chance to return some support to two of our most dedicated supporters: JoAnn Ward and Peter Fischer. Much work still lies ahead as we make our schools the best they can be, so we need to make sure JoAnn and Peter are there to fight for us in the future.

Saturday, July 19, Noon to 2pm
at the home of Eric Celeste & Mary Hess
1993 Lincoln Avenue, Saint Paul

Co-hosted by Carrie Dickson, Lee Ann Fugaban, Susan Mau Larson, Jocelyn Stein, and Leslye Taylor.

Bring your own picnic lunch. We will have a grill and some drinks. We’ll be outside if we can, inside if we must.

We will be accepting donations for Peter and JoAnn at the reunion. If you cannot join us, or would like to use a credit card, please visit Peter and JoAnn’s campaign websites to make a donation:

EMID Board to Celebrate Conveyance of Schools, 5/21

Jean Lubke, Executive Director of EMID, wants to let everyone know that the EMID board will mark the conveyance of the schools at their meeting tomorrow. Please join the board if you can! The meeting is at Crosswinds and starts at 5:30 on Wednesday.

The EMID Board will have a small celebration with the leaders of Perpich, Roseville, Crosswinds, Harambee, and our legislative advocates at the beginning of the Board meeting on Wednesday (5/21) at 5:30. You are most warmly welcome.

Please extend this invitation to the EMID Families and anyone else who has helped with this change.

Crosswinds and Harambee Get Legislative OK

60 years after the landmark ruling in Brown v Board of Education, we celebrate the success of our three-year collaboration between families, two school districts, and Minnesota House and Senate members which has culminated in a vote enabling both Crosswinds and Harambee to stay open.

Language included as part of bonding and finance bills passed last night (5/16/2014) grants final approval of the transfer of the schools to other districts while maintaining their integration mission. We anticipate that Governor Dayton will sign the bills soon. Harambee Community Cultures/Environmental Science Elementary, a K-6 school in Maplewood, will become a permanent member of ISD 623, Roseville Area Schools. Crosswinds School of Arts and Sciences, a 6-10 middle school in Woodbury, will join with Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Each of the schools has been operated by these respective districts for the past school year, under a temporary one-year management agreement with the East Metro Integration District 6067 (EMID). EMID had determined in 2013 that it no longer wanted to operate the schools, and would instead focus more on interdistrict support for integration programs and efforts. After the legislature failed to convey the schools last year, Roseville and Perpich were awarded the management agreements for this past transition year, based largely on their commitment to keep to the original integration mission of the schools.

“This is a great outcome” says Troy Stein, a parent of students at both EMID schools. “These schools are unique, with their model of successful voluntary integration, and their accessibility to kids from all over the entire east metro region. This is one of those stories where the legislature, the leadership of all the districts involved, the staff at the schools, and the families of the kids, will all be able to look back and say, ‘We did a wonderful thing!’”.

Partnering with families in this effort this year include EMID Director Jean Lubke, Superintendent of Roseville Area Schools John Thein, Director of Perpich Center for Arts Education Sue Mackert, House authors Representatives Joann Ward and Peter Fischer, and Senate authors Senators Chuck Wiger and Kevin Dahl along with countless other legislators, families, and friends.

Harambee (grades K-6) and Crosswinds (grades 6-10) remain open for enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year to students from the East Metro area. There is no cost and transportation is provided from some areas. For more information, see their respective websites at www.isd623.org and www.crosswindsmn.org.

UPDATE: Here is an EMID Families press release about this legislative milestone.