The West Metro Education Program is getting out of the business of running schools.

The organization's board voted Wednesday night to transfer ownership of the FAIR (Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource) School to Minneapolis Public Schools and Robbinsdale Area Schools. State lawmakers must sign off.

Minneapolis will assume control of FAIR's downtown campus, which currently serves students in kindergarten through third grade and high school students. Robbinsdale will pick up FAIR's Crystal campus, which serves grades 4-8.

Officials from both districts have said they plan to keep both campuses focused on the arts and integration for the next four to five years. Beyond that, it's less clear what will happen.

Without a school to run, WMEP will focus on professional development and student programs. It is also contemplating other initiatives aimed at promoting integrated schools.

Kim McGuire

New Prague voters face $58M question

On Monday, the New Prague school board approved a resolution placing a one-question, $58.48 million bond referendum on the ballot.

Residents will vote May 5. If approved, the owner of a $150,000 home would see a tax increase of $68 annually.

The proposal would fund multiple construction projects, including a middle school addition and renovation, an addition to the transportation building and deferred maintenance. Technology updates at several school sites are also planned. At the Central Education Campus building, demolition of the 1923 portion and a swimming pool addition are proposed.

Erin Adler

Stillwater to meet candidates Feb. 21

The Stillwater Area Public Schools, now led by interim chief Tom Nelson, has narrowed the search for a new superintendent. The school board has selected six candidates for public interviews on Feb. 21. Nelson replaced Corey Lunn, who left last summer for Iowa. The candidates are:

John Bezek, assistant superintendent of Shakopee Public Schools; David Dude, chief operating officer for the Iowa City Community School District; Richard Lahn, interim superintendent of Nashwauk-Keewatin; Denise Pontrelli, executive director of educational services for Spring Lake Park Schools; Lori Simon, executive director of academics and elementary schools for Robbinsdale Aarea Schools; Richard Spicuzza, deputy superintendent in Mounds View.

The district's next leader is expected to be named in mid-March and take the helm July 1.

Anthony Lonetree

MPS' general counsel latest to say goodbye

Steve Liss is stepping down as general counsel of Minneapolis Public Schools.

He is the second top official to step down after the resignation of Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson. In late January, the school district's lobbyist Jim Grathwol announced he was leaving to work for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

Liss will retire in mid-April. Liss also served as the district's chief operating officer from 2006 to 2011.

"I feel blessed to have served the children of Minneapolis for nine years with an amazing group of talented, dedicated professionals at all levels of the organization," Liss said.

Alejandra Matos