School Board Votes to Close High School at Mall of America

Updated: 04/19/2013 10:17 AM By: Naomi Pescovitz

The Metropolitan Learning Alliance is one of Mall of America's lesser known tenants. It is a high school on the third floor of the east side of the mall. 

But after a school board vote Thursday evening, Metropolitan Learning Alliance will likely close at the end of the school year.

The school has been at the mall since 1994 and has more than 80 students this year. It is composed of 10th through 12th graders from four districts: St. Paul, Minneapolis, Bloomington and Richfield. There are 8 staff members.

Mall of America has provided the districts discounted rent, saving them an estimated $10 million dollars. Mall of America Vice President Dan Jasper says the current agreement is no longer an option.

"Financially speaking, we just had to make this decision and this is where we landed," Jasper said.

Jasper says a new tenant is interested in the space and the mall is looking to expand.

"After many, many years of cooperation with the school, this is part of that process, and we have the opportunity to have a significant tenant in the area where the school is currently located and that makes a lot of sense for us," Jasper said.

During a meeting Thursday, the school's board voted unanimously to dissolve the joint powers agreement with the mall. 

"It's been very, very valuable space. We understand the value of this space and the business the mall is in," said Minneapolis Board of Education Member Richard Mammen

"The mall's been very generous over the years and been involved but things have changed. The educational options that are available now didn't exist 19 years ago," Mammen said.

There will be a public hearing on the closure May 16th before the board takes another vote.

Many of the students are seniors. Other students will transition to different schools next year.