Parents United Legislative Kickoff

Hi EMID Friends! I thought you would like to know that the Parents United Legislative Kickoff is planned for Saturday, January 10th at 9am. There is no fee for this event, but Parents United does ask that you please RSVP so they know how many are coming.

This is the beginning of a new biennium, on in which the Republican party will control the House and the Democrats the Senate. It is also a “funding year” this year. Come learn more about what all this means for education in Minnesota and prepare to fight for your schools as the state’s budget is built.

Parents United Annual Legislative Kickoff
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 9 – 11 am
TIES Main (East) Building, 3rd Floor Cafeteria
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St Paul, MN 55108
Coffee, rolls and conversation! The Kickoff is free, but please RSVP

By the way, if you cannot make it to TIES on Saturday 1/10, but you want to watch the kickoff, we will be experimenting will a live-stream of the event. As soon as we have details about that stream, we will update this post.

MSR: Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive

The second part of Isaac Peterson’s story about Crosswinds was on the front page of the 7/24/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive.”

According to State Representative Carlos Mariani, who fought for Crosswind’s continued independence, a meeting at the school after the end of the session led to those seeking to absorb the school into another district finally agreeing, “‘Okay. We’ll let someone else run the school.’ That’s when the Perpich Center for the Arts stepped up and said, ‘We’ll run the school and we’ll promote integration with it.’”

The marriage of the two schools would seem to make it a perfect match, as Crosswinds is a school that emphasizes the arts, and the Perpich school, by its own nature, has extensive experience in those areas as well. One of Crosswinds’ features is that it boasts probably the most racially and culturally diverse student orchestra in Minnesota.

The story includes extensive quotes from former Crosswinds parents Eric Celeste, Tami Bayne-Kuczmarski, and Dan Larson as well as from Principal Carla Hines.

This story was accompanied by another Peterson story about the efforts of Dan Shulman to get another desegregation lawsuit going in the Twin Cities: “One desegregation lawsuit not enough.”

Shulman maintains that a revival of the original suit is necessary because, almost 20 years after the culmination of the settlement of the first case, “The same conditions that existed when we filed the first case in 1995 have reoccurred almost 20 years later. And they’re worse. That includes segregation of schools, discrimination in terms of suspensions, teacher assignments to schools, misuse of funds that are supposed to be for integration, and the State of Minnesota has approved and knowingly allowed this to occur and they are responsible for fixing it. [We need] to make sure that we desegregate these metropolitan schools.”


MSR: Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt

Isaac Peterson had a story on the front page of the 7/17/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt.” He begins:

Parents and students in the United States scored a major victory 60 years ago in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which decreed an end to school desegregation. More recently, Twin Cities parents and teachers scored another victory in a long and convoluted fight for school integration. That fight also is related to a lawsuit brought over school segregation.

Peterson gives some history of EMID Families and its struggles with the EMID board, then describes the legislative fight of the past two years.

After a sustained, protracted battle to keep the school open, the EMID Families were finally able to enlist the aid of allies in the state legislature. State Representative Carlos Mariani explained that “As the legislature continued to cut funding for K-12 education, school districts were looking for all sorts of ways to be able to capture revenue.

There will be a second part to the story next week covering the merger of Crosswinds with the Perpich Center for Arts Education.


EMID Families Reunion and Fundraiser, 7/19

Crosswinds and Harambee both have a long future ahead of them thanks to the incredible work of EMID Families and our supporters in the Minnesota legislature. Please join us for this celebration of our accomplishments and chance to return some support to two of our most dedicated supporters: JoAnn Ward and Peter Fischer. Much work still lies ahead as we make our schools the best they can be, so we need to make sure JoAnn and Peter are there to fight for us in the future.

Saturday, July 19, Noon to 2pm
at the home of Eric Celeste & Mary Hess
1993 Lincoln Avenue, Saint Paul

Co-hosted by Carrie Dickson, Lee Ann Fugaban, Susan Mau Larson, Jocelyn Stein, and Leslye Taylor.

Bring your own picnic lunch. We will have a grill and some drinks. We’ll be outside if we can, inside if we must.

We will be accepting donations for Peter and JoAnn at the reunion. If you cannot join us, or would like to use a credit card, please visit Peter and JoAnn’s campaign websites to make a donation:

EMID Board to Celebrate Conveyance of Schools, 5/21

Jean Lubke, Executive Director of EMID, wants to let everyone know that the EMID board will mark the conveyance of the schools at their meeting tomorrow. Please join the board if you can! The meeting is at Crosswinds and starts at 5:30 on Wednesday.

The EMID Board will have a small celebration with the leaders of Perpich, Roseville, Crosswinds, Harambee, and our legislative advocates at the beginning of the Board meeting on Wednesday (5/21) at 5:30. You are most warmly welcome.

Please extend this invitation to the EMID Families and anyone else who has helped with this change.

Crosswinds and Harambee Get Legislative OK

60 years after the landmark ruling in Brown v Board of Education, we celebrate the success of our three-year collaboration between families, two school districts, and Minnesota House and Senate members which has culminated in a vote enabling both Crosswinds and Harambee to stay open.

Language included as part of bonding and finance bills passed last night (5/16/2014) grants final approval of the transfer of the schools to other districts while maintaining their integration mission. We anticipate that Governor Dayton will sign the bills soon. Harambee Community Cultures/Environmental Science Elementary, a K-6 school in Maplewood, will become a permanent member of ISD 623, Roseville Area Schools. Crosswinds School of Arts and Sciences, a 6-10 middle school in Woodbury, will join with Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Each of the schools has been operated by these respective districts for the past school year, under a temporary one-year management agreement with the East Metro Integration District 6067 (EMID). EMID had determined in 2013 that it no longer wanted to operate the schools, and would instead focus more on interdistrict support for integration programs and efforts. After the legislature failed to convey the schools last year, Roseville and Perpich were awarded the management agreements for this past transition year, based largely on their commitment to keep to the original integration mission of the schools.

“This is a great outcome” says Troy Stein, a parent of students at both EMID schools. “These schools are unique, with their model of successful voluntary integration, and their accessibility to kids from all over the entire east metro region. This is one of those stories where the legislature, the leadership of all the districts involved, the staff at the schools, and the families of the kids, will all be able to look back and say, ‘We did a wonderful thing!’”.

Partnering with families in this effort this year include EMID Director Jean Lubke, Superintendent of Roseville Area Schools John Thein, Director of Perpich Center for Arts Education Sue Mackert, House authors Representatives Joann Ward and Peter Fischer, and Senate authors Senators Chuck Wiger and Kevin Dahl along with countless other legislators, families, and friends.

Harambee (grades K-6) and Crosswinds (grades 6-10) remain open for enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year to students from the East Metro area. There is no cost and transportation is provided from some areas. For more information, see their respective websites at www.isd623.org and www.crosswindsmn.org.

UPDATE: Here is an EMID Families press release about this legislative milestone.

Pioneer Press: Zander Sellie is in the house

Our own indefatigable Crosswinds graduate, Zander Sellie, became front page news in the Saturday 5/17 Pioneer Press! See the article by Christopher Magan, Zander Sellie is in the house — in the statehouse, that is.

Zander in the Pioneer Press (Jean Pieri)

Here is a PDF of the front page.

Leadership Summit, 4/28

The Parents United Leadership Summit is a great way to catch up on what else has been happening for education at the capitol. All are welcome!

Crosswinds Bill Passes Senate E12 Division, 3/18

This morning SF530, the bill conveying Crosswinds to Perpich, was the first item on the agenda of the E12 Division of the Senate Finance Committee. The bill was presented by its author, Sen. Dahle, and amended to take care of some finance and transportation issues. Great news: the bill made it over this very important hurdle!

Tom Melcher, of the Minnesota Department of Education, explained that one of the amendments just ensured that districts whose students attend Crosswinds did not get to charge the state for their “declining enrollment” in these cases. This effectively makes the future under Perpich similar to the past under EMID, when districts could also not make such charges to the state. With regard to transportation, the new language clarifies that Perpich will be able to seek integration funding for transportation as long as it files integration plans with MDE, again similar to the transportation situation under EMID. Though the final “fiscal note” was not yet complete, Melcher anticipated that it would show SF530 provides a net benefit to the state, rather than a net cost.

Testimony proceeded from Dr. Jean Lubke (Executive Director of EMID), Kitty Gogins (Chair of the EMID Board), Sue Mackert (Executive Director of Perpich), Dr. Carla Hines (Principal at Crosswinds), Kai’li Taylor (Crosswinds 9th grader), Eric Celeste (former Crosswinds parent), and Mike Boguszewski (former Crosswinds parent). Many other parents and students surrounded the final three testifiers to show the committee the strength of our support, and written testimony was also provided from many of you.

With very little discussion, the E12 Division voted to “lay over” the bill with Chair Wiger for inclusion in the Senate Finance omnibus. This is very good news. Sen. Wiger gave a supportive little talk after the vote. This leaves the future of SF530 very much in his hands and the hands of the Senate Finance Chair, Sen. Dick Cohen. Of course, this is the legislature, so other complications may arise.

Thank you to all of you who have helped us get so far on this road. Today was a big step, only possible due to your actions over the past few years. At this point we need to thank our supporters, please help us by sending kind notes to:

And you may also want to send a note asking for support for SF530 from Sen. Dick Cohen as Chair of the Senate Finance committee.

Crosswinds Hearing with Senate E12 Finance, Tuesday 3/18

SF530, the bill to convey Crosswinds to Perpich, is scheduled for another hearing the the Minnesota Senate tomorrow. This time the bill will be heard by the E12 Division of the Senate Finance Committee in Room 112 of the Capitol, Tuesday, March 18, 8:30-11am. Join us at the capitol if you can!

Please visit our Contacting Your Representatives page for more details on how to ask your own senator to support SF530.