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Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, is sponsoring a House bill that would give the Crosswinds school in Woodbury to the Perpich Center for Arts Education. School District 833 wants the Crosswinds building. Photo by Danielle Killey/Forum News Service

Lawmakers question future of Crosswinds school in Woodbury

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Two Twin Cities schools' future rests in legislators' hands.

A East Metro Integration District board governing Crosswinds school in Woodbury and Harambee in Maplewood decided to give away the facilities, but Minnesota Management and Budget has ruled that the only thing it can do without legislative approval is to sell the buildings. Doing anything else needs support from three-fifths of lawmakers voting.

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The Perpich Center for Arts Education wants to take over Crosswinds, which has served students in grades 6 through 10, and keep the current curriculum that emphasizes science and arts with a diversified student body.

The South Washington County School District also would like the Crosswinds building, but only has a tentative plan for how it would be used.

"This is a great, unique initiative," Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, said about Crosswinds during a Tuesday House meeting.

"It is important to continue the vision that was created years ago..." he said. "We just need some permission from the Legislature."

Chairwoman Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, of the House Capital Investment Committee said there is confusion among competing Crosswinds interests because many do not understand that since the school originally was funded by state money that the Legislature must decide its fate.

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said that while his bill would give Crosswinds to the Perpich center, he expects a Senate bill to propose giving the facility to South Washington County Schools.

South Washington County lawmakers oppose the Perpich plan.

Hausman's committee will further consider the schools in coming days.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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