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Arts center in Minnesota sees low enrollment, high turnover

Posted November 27

— The board that oversees the Perpich Center for Arts Education wants to figure out why it has high staff turnover and declining enrollment at its two Twin Cities-area schools.

The center provides art resources to school districts and runs two-year art high school in Golden Valley and a middle school in Woodbury, Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2gyvDS8) reported.

The center's high graduation rate has been a selling point, but the structure of the center, which gets a large part of its $12 million budget from the Legislature, calls for it to justify its existence every two-year budget cycle.

Enrollment is down by almost a third in five years, and the high school has had four principals in just over seven years. A board report earlier this month cited a need to figure out why so many employees are resigning.

In 2001 and 2011, legislators discussed the possibility of turning Perpich into a charter school and closing the center entirely.

The center also is the subject of a financial audit and program audit. The results for the former are expected next month and the latter audit's results are expected to be released in January.

Former school counselor Dianne Auger said staff and faculty have been pressed by the leadership's desire for a 100 percent graduation rate.

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