Class act: Court rules against alternative learning programs in charter schools

  • Updated: March 21, 2014 - 8:11 PM

Charter schools aren’t eligible to operate alternative learning programs for struggling students, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled this week.

The court sided with the state Department of Education in a review sought by Minneapolis-based Minnesota Transitions Charter School. Minnesota Transitions got approval to run an alternative program in 2002, but in mid-2013 the department told the school that state law didn’t allow it.

Minnesota Transitions argued that the department misinterpreted the law, but the court found otherwise. “We have over 200 students enrolled in this program and I am floored at the decision,” said Patty Brostrom, the school’s director.

Eugene Piccolo, executive director, of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, said the organization will consider whether to go to the 2015 Legislature to get funding for charter schools to operate the programs.

More than 162,000 students — or 17 percent of public school students — are in alternative programs, the department said.

Steve Brandt

9th-graders move up

in Osseo Area Schools

Maple Grove, Park Center and Osseo high schools will open their doors to freshmen in the 2015-16 school year.

The Osseo Area Schools board voted this week to reconfigure grades, which means sixth-graders will move to junior high and ninth-graders will move to high school. Current grades are K-6, 7-9 and 10-12.

The district plans on spending between $17 million-$19 million on additions at the three high schools and other renovations.

Administrators say there are many reasons for the move, among them: Sixth-graders and freshmen will have access to more varied course options.

The board directed administrators to come up with a plan that does not change boundaries — something many Maple Grove High School parents complained about when it looked like their children might be moved in the student shuffle.

Kim McGuire

Osseo teachers reach deal; vote due in April

Osseo teachers have reached a tentative contract agreement that will likely be put to a member vote in early April. It calls for a 2 percent annual salary increase. Other details were not immediately available.

About 400 teachers showed up at the Osseo school board meeting in February to rally support for the negotiations.

As of last week, about 32 percent of teacher contracts were unsettled, according to Education Minnesota, the state teachers’ union, which tracks negotiations in 331 school districts.

Kim McGuire

Stillwater schools chief leaving for job in Iowa

Corey Lunn, Stillwater schools superintendent since 2011, is leaving this summer for Johnston Community School District in Iowa.

Lunn, 47, cited several reasons for the move, including proximity to his wife’s family and the prospect of going to a school district on firmer financial footing.

“It’s interesting to note that in Iowa there’s a sales tax that goes back to the schools to maintain and build buildings,” he said in a brief interview Tuesday. “It’s not so levy-heavy as it is in Minnesota.”

He will take over the Johnston school district July 1.

Libor Jany

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