The state Board of Education on Monday finalized a decision to close the secondary grades of the Dakota Open charter school, located on the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Morton, Minn.
In a 7-0 vote, the board heeded a strongly worded recommendation from Bob Wedl, commissioner of the state Department of Children, Families and Learning, to end its sponsorship of the school's secondary program. "Most secondary students attend irregularly, and the school operates more like a teen drop-in center than a place where planned education takes place," Wedl wrote.
In June, the board voted to stop sponsoring secondary grades of the K-12 school. At the request of school organizers and Southwest State University, which agreed to sponsor the school in the future, the board held a July hearing to review its earlier decision.
Since then, board members received letters urging them to close the school from two former elementary teachers at the school and a petition from the Lower Sioux Indian Community Council. Board members said that the community had expressed interest in setting up another charter school for Indian students.”
"The best hope that school and those students have is a fresh start," said Jeanne Kling, board vice president.
The second charter school, Eci' Nompa Woonspe', was also closed.
…Two Dakota Communities established K-12 state-chartered schools at Prairie Island and in the Lower Sioux (Dakota Open School). Dakota Open School was born of parents’ frustration with the quality of education and the perceived hostility in the regular school. The school faced bureaucratic barriers in receiving special Indian education funds. In 1997, the state withdrew sponsorship of the secondary program at the Dakota Open School because academic standards were not strictly enforced, and the school closed in May 1998. The school at Prairie Island closed for lack of funding after one year of operation…