School of Science supporters protest district decision to end lease

Minnesota School of Science supporters
Parents, students and staff protested outside the Minnesota School of Science on Monday, June 17, 2013, in north Minneapolis. The demonstrators fear a move by the Minneapolis Public Schools district to end the Minnesota School of Science's building lease will close the school.
MPR Photo/Tim Post

Parents, students and staff protested outside a north Minneapolis charter school Monday over a district decision that could close the school.

About three dozen people demonstrated with signs outside the Minnesota School of Science. They say a decision by the Minneapolis Public Schools district to end their lease could close the charter school.

The school is half a million dollars behind on its rent.

The school is behind, said Gene Scapanski, a School of Science charter board member, because the state does not pay lease aid to schools who rent space from their authorizers.

"We're really caught in the middle between Minneapolis Public Schools and the state of Minnesota on this," Scapanski said.

School officials want the district to let them find a new authorizer. Scapanski is asking district officials to let the charter stay for one year while it finds a new building or a new authorizer.

"We want time to make the transition and we want time to prove what is happening to these children is very exciting to the city of Minneapolis," Scapanski said.

But the district refuses, citing financial and academic problems at the school. The district wants the charter out of the building by July 1 in order use the building to open City View School, a kindergarten through fifth grade school.

Administrators of the charter school say their students performed well in testing over the last two years, in some cases outperforming the statewide average. The district questions those results, citing incidents both last year and this year that resulted in some test results being thrown out.

The district also says the school has not filed monthly financial reports on time. School leaders say the delay occurred because they switched accounting firms last fall, and have caught up with their reports since then.

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