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.
At a public meeting held by the Perpich Center for Arts Education at the Crosswinds School this week, a draft proposal was shared that suggested the Saint Paul Public Schools may take over the Crosswinds School.
The draft closely resembled the terms under which the Roseville Schools took over Harambee in 2014. Under the draft proposal, transportation funding for students currently at Crosswinds would be “grand-mothered” in, but new students from outside the Saint Paul district would have to provide their own transportation as open enrollment students.
Solvejg Wastvedt reports for MPR that St. Paul has proposed taking over Crosswinds. In “St. Paul district could assume control of Crosswinds school” she reports:
The plan would add an additional grade each year starting in 2018, eventually resulting in a 6-12 school. The proposal envisions maintaining current staff, although it does not commit to keeping every position.
The article also states that St. Paul’s is the only proposal the Perpich board has received for Crosswinds.
Both the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting that the St. Paul Public School Board has served EMID with notice of its intent to withdraw from the integration collaborative. Rehab Feshir writes for MPR: “St. Paul school board votes to leave integration district.”
In a statement released after the vote, the board cited changes EMID has implemented, including dropping Harambee and Crosswinds, as reasons for its intent to withdraw by the beginning of the next school year.
Doesn’t it seem amazing that the SPPS board, which worked so hard to kill Harambee and Crosswinds, would now site the departure of those schools from EMID as its reason for leaving the collaborative?
Anthony Lonetree posts for the Star Tribune: “St. Paul schools to leave integration district.”
The departure from the East Metro Integration District (EMID) takes effect after the 2015-16 school year, according to action taken by the school board at a special meeting Tuesday.
The one-year countdown starts ticking now.
Come and Meet Saint Paul and EMID board member John Brodrick on Friday, May 17, 4-8 pm, IBEW Hall, 1300 Conway Street (east of Johnson Parkway).
Food, beverages, Brodrick stories, and a surprise. FREE, open to all DFL delegates, alternates and the public. This is a drop-in event, come when you can, say hi, stay a while, no need to stay for the whole event.
This is an old school political event – in a Union Hall, free (although we are not too proud to accept donations), fun (believe it or not, DFLers who care about our schools are actually fun people – if you love Saint Paul, you will see a cross section of the city; geographically, ethnically, by age, by gender, by race; be careful there may even be an East Side – West Side – Best Side argument about a football game from the 70’s, or a tennis match from 2013 – everybody who comes to this event shares one thing – they love Saint Paul, and our schools – all right that was two things). If you have never met School Board Member John Brodrick, (welcome to the DFL caucuses) or if you see him once a week, you will enjoy this event – a great candidate, great DFLers; people who care about our schools and community; who want every child to be successful will attend. Join us for politics that is fun, friendly, engaging, and because it is about our kids and our schools, politics that is important.
John is the only candidate running who has been DFL endorsed. As John puts it, “I have been a Democrat from Humphrey to Wellstone, to Vote No Twice and Turn the Ballot Over and Vote Yes For Kids.”
This has been posted on our EMID Families list a few times, but we also wanted to get it up on the website. The SPPS board will be discussing EMID school closure today at their 10/4 work session. Note that the agenda has just been revised and EMID is now item “D” on the agenda. This means the EMID discussion should happen after 5pm, in an effort to allow more of the EMID community to get to the meeting.
The details of the meeting are at the SPPS web site. It will be at 320 Colborne Avenue in Saint Paul.