But after Tyson made his offer, an MPS teacher who also is a teachers’ union employee submitted a plan to reopen Lee as a district-run charter school.
The School Board was said to be considering both options. It was scheduled to discuss the potential sale or lease of several empty buildings, including the Lee building, in closed session Tuesday night.
Despite enrollment declines of 1,000 or more students each year for nine years — before an increase in 2013-’14 — the School Board and district administration have been averse to selling their public property to nondistrict school operators. Voucher and nondistrict charter school operators compete with the district for students, and more students attending those schools means potentially fewer students — and less state aid money — coming to MPS.
Supporters of successful private voucher and independent charter schools believe there shouldn’t be so many roadblocks to those schools obtaining building space to expand. St. Marcus’ state achievement test scores are some of the highest in the city for schools with predominantly low-income, minority students.
St. Marcus will be paying around $80,000 a year to lease the Aurora Weier site, which will be called the St. Marcus Early Childhood Center, North Campus. Tyson said they may eventually buy the building.
Up to 250 young children could be served at the new site by next year, Tyson said.
This year, even with the new early childhood site opening, Tyson said about 200 children remain on the waiting list to get into St. Marcus.