The City Inc. and its North Minneapolis high school on shaky ground

There may be more bad news for students in North Minneapolis: The Strib is reporting that The City Inc. might be closing, along with its alternative school, as early as today.

That could mean another kick in the gut for a neighborhood that's already reeling from the planned closure and reorganization of North High School, and a controversy over qualified teachers at the Broadway High School for teen moms.

Minneapolis Public Schools contracts with The City to run the school, which caters to about 50 kids on 12th Avenue North who have had problems dealing with, and staying in, traditional schools. It operates a similar campus for 110 students in the Wilder building on East 34th Street in South Minneapolis, in collaboration with the Minneapolis Urban League.

The organization has tried since the 1980s to find ways to keep neighborhood kids away from drugs and gangs, and channel them into productive lives in North Minneapolis. And it has drawn fire by working with gang leaders. Some of the gangbangers who collaborated with The City were associated with police officer Jerry Haaf's murder at a pizza restaurant in 1992. In 2002, Minneapolis police worked with its members to try and tamp down growing gang conflicts.

If the school does indeed close, district spokesman Stan Alleyne tells the Strib that MPS will move fast to get the school's students placed elsewhere.

The closure would punch another hole in the sinking ship of options for educating kids on the north side.

In November, MPS announced a plan to shutter the existing North High School campus because of its anemic enrollment -- students and their families have largely abandoned the under-performing school. After a neighborhood outcry, the district modified its proposal, seeking to re-open North as a smaller campus in a new building.

We also learned the other day that teachers at Broadway High School for teen moms taught classes they didn't have licenses to teach. That's a violation of the No Child Left Behind Act, so those classes might not count for the students affected. And the news came after the students had already been relocated to North High School so the district could tear down the building to make way for its new headquarters.

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