Crosswinds school will stay open in coming year

Board votes Wednesday to let Perpich Center manage the school.

At risk of being shuttered, Crosswinds Arts and Science School in Woodbury instead was granted new life Wednesday night.

By an 8-2 vote, the governing board of the East Metro Integration District (EMID) accepted a proposal from the Perpich Center for Arts Education to manage the multi-district integration program in 2013-14.

The approval was a remarkable turn of events for the school and its supporters, who had continued to push to keep Crosswinds alive after a state legislative setback in May and as the time to get a deal done narrowed.

But Perpich Center, which saw in Crosswinds a shared commitment to helping all students achieve through the arts, still faces several challenges. Many of the school’s current teachers have accepted jobs elsewhere, and there is uncertainty as to how many students will show up.

But Sue Mackert, the Perpich Center’s executive director, said that the center’s professional development expertise should help ensure teachers are ready to go. The center, she added, is counting on 300 students, but could make a program work with as few as 200.

This year, Crosswinds had about 350 students.

The school will continue its current curriculum, which includes International Baccalaureate programming.

Earlier this year, EMID Board Member Lori Swanson voted in favor of an alternative plan for the Crosswinds building.

But on Wednesday, she was a Perpich Center advocate.

“I just have great hope for this new, very active partnership,” she said.

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