Emerson school-closing vote postponed

Share this:
November 22, 2004 // UPDATED 4:44 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Bob Gilbert
Bob Gilbert

The Minneapolis Board of Education put the brakes on a Nov. 30 vote to close Loring Park's Emerson Spanish Immersion School in fall 2007.

Emerson's fate will be decided Dec. 14 -- two weeks after a vote on the rest of the citywide closing plan.

The Board announced Nov. 12 that Emerson, 1421 Spruce St., would be closed and its program moved, intact, to Jefferson Community School, 1200 W. 26th St. The announcement came one day after a series of community discussion meetings ended.

Kathy Anson, co-chair of Emerson's Parent Teacher and Student Association, said parents at the school were shocked that Emerson was brought into the school closing discussion so late. "We are concerned that the district's planning process is deeply flawed. Emerson parents have had no opportunity to provide any feedback or input," she said.

The Board has scheduled a public hearing on Emerson for Monday, Nov. 29, 7-9 p.m. at Jefferson. That meeting is one day before the official Board vote.

District Communications Director Sarah Snapp said the Emerson vote was postponed to Dec. 14 because "the Board said we needed more time to have more conversation with the Emerson community. This was a change, and people hadn't had time to process it and evaluate it. I think the Board wanted to be fair."

Though the closing won't take place for three years, Snapp said the Board must decide on it soon.

"In the community engagement process, one of the things that the community said that they wanted was stability and predictability," she said. "If you are a parent preparing to enroll your kindergarten student this coming fall, you want to know if the program you are enrolling your child in is going to be around through the elementary years."

Anson said Emerson parents would insist the district make its case.

"We need a lot of information at this point before we can understand what this really means for our school and what benefits our students would accrue from this move," she said. "I have a real concern about the district compromising one of its most highly successful and sought-after programs."