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Our View: Crosswinds addition could be opportune

Crosswinds Art and Science School tends to fly under the radar in Woodbury. Tucked away in the city's western corridor, the school hadn't received much attention recently until it was nearly shuttered last year.

Funding for the school -- operated by the East Metro Integration District -- remains tenuous, though it appears possible now that South Washington County Schools could step in to acquire it, as is explained in this week's Page 1 story. Crosswinds, which houses grades 6-10, enrolls students from within the 10 EMID member school districts. EMID's mission for the school is to boost integration for students in St. Paul-area schools that are considered racially isolated. The school's curriculum immerses students in the arts and sciences and includes an International Baccalaureate program that provides opportunity that might not otherwise be found in the inner city.

But as member districts' funding has decreased amid changing legislative goals, Crosswinds' laudable mission - rooted in narrowing the achievement gap - is threatened. We watch carefully as District 833 moves in to take over the school.

On the surface, this appears to be a two-birds-with-one-stone solution. On the one hand, the building offers coveted space as three of 833's current middle schools burst at the seams. For Crosswinds, it could keep the doors open at a school that's only half full.

Many questions remain, however, as District 833 School Board members move ahead with the possible purchase.

n What's to come of the current curriculum offered at Crosswinds?

n If the current arts- and science-based curriculum remains, where do District 833 students take that specialized education after 10th grade?

n Though the building has been paid for by the state and a portion of operating funds are already covered by 833, will that cover all the costs? How much additional funding could District 833 be on the hook for? What fills the gap of EMID dollars steered toward Crosswinds that would presumably go away under an 833 takeover?

n Would the integration model remain in any capacity?

We hope School Board members seek out, clarify and provide answers to these - and more - questions as they pursue what appears to be a beneficial move toward acquiring Crosswinds School.