Lakes Area Charter School closesLakes Area Charter School (LACS) in Osakis will close its doors on January 17, but completing the flood of paperwork to finalize its closing, along with the Lakes Virtual Academy on January 21, will continue for several months.
By: Roberta Olson, Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Lakes Area Charter School (LACS) in Osakis will close its doors on January 17, but completing the flood of paperwork to finalize its closing, along with the Lakes Virtual Academy on January 21, will continue for several months.
The closing will come with what Director Phil Grant calls “a bittersweet celebration,” the graduation ceremony for nine seniors on Thursday, January 17 at 7 p.m. at Alexandria Technical and Community College. The evening will include comments from a teacher, a graduate and founder, LeRoy Mackove.
“The school will be closed, but in the eyes of the state we still have a non-profit corporation that will continue,” Grant said.
The LACS School Board passed a resolution to dissolve the non-profit corporation during its January 8 meeting.
Paperwork for this portion of the closing calls for a 45-day waiting period so people with claims can come forward for payment, Grant said.
The closing of LACS is complicated because funding included state and federal funds. Grant is delving into records to determine who owns what, and what the regulations are for disposing of useable items like books, computers and a half dozen Smart Boards.
Grant said because the Smart Boards were purchased through a federal program, “somebody in Washington, D.C. may have to figure out” where the electronics will end up.
Osakis School District is not eligible because of size constraints.
As of last week there were still 13 students – eight of them on-site, two online, and three in post-secondary enrollment option. They, along with two remaining teachers, had been moved into one classroom, “kind of like a one-room school,” Grant said.
Two auditors from the state were on-site at LACS last week, spending several days going over the records.
Grant said, “Fortunately, everything is in very good shape. LACS had very good financial management over the last few years. That’s what sustained us this year.”
Grant’s analogy: “The bus was in good shape to continue running; we just didn’t get enough passengers.”
An auction of the remaining equipment and property will be held in March, but a date has not been set. Before that happens, an inventory must be completed.
Students are being assisted in finding new schools to transfer to, and decisions are being made on where the school and employee records should be kept.
Teacher and representative to the school board, Jonathan Larson resigned from the board last week because he has found employment elsewhere. Teacher Kristi Wietecha filled that open spot on the board.
The closing of LACS this week is the end of an era in Osakis, beginning when the school opened in 1999. Since that time, more than 1,000 students have attended the school. An exact number of total graduates was not available.
The LACS office building and the large classroom building are leased from Stan Kirckof, and the small classroom building owned by LACS is for sale.