General John Vessey Jr. Leadership Academy


Students from General John Vessey Jr. Leadership Academy are hunting for new schools after their 8-year-old charter high school abruptly closed over Christmas break after running out of money.

The mood was glum at the small West St. Paul school Tuesday, what should have been the first day back, as students hugged and said goodbye. It was their last chance to collect belongings before trying to find a new place to attend classes and finish out the school year.

"It sucks," said Mara Jafar of Richfield, who helped her son Cody clean out his locker Tuesday. "It is not exactly an easy transition in the middle of freshman year."...

School officials cited a combination of factors that forced the closure. Leadership and staffing turnover caused enrollment to fall from more than 100 students in 2007 to about 50 this school year...

Vessey had a small niche. It was known for its Junior ROTC program that primarily served students who didn't fit into a traditional school setting because of behavioral or other issues, said Mary Bright, Vessey executive director...

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