On November 21, 2020, Pastor Moua, Mike Tholl, and Tony Wimmer met with 4 representatives from The Journey School (TJS) and Savior of the Nations (SON) ministries. TJS is a public charter school located on Lexington Ave. in St Paul that was originally Central Lutheran School. The SON ministry rents the facility to TJS and runs the before/after child care program. The school board has WELS members Scott Gostchock (chairman) and Michelle Cambrice (director) and has other non-WELS members on it. After a tour of our school, we discussed the possibility of starting a second Journey Charter school campus at St John. A second meeting with them and our full council was held on Dec 1.
They are very impressed with our facility and would like to start leasing all the rooms of our school, music room, gym, playground, and open areas of our field starting in the fall of 2021. This was changed to the fall of 2022 because they did not get the application to the Minnesota Department of Education in before the deadline, October 31. They also want to use our kitchen and Fellowship Hall to serve hot lunches and breakfast. They said they would still have to get approval from their school board, but they felt that it would very likely be approved if we want to lease it. They are looking for a minimum 5-year lease with options to extend the lease beyond that time.
We discussed the possibility of adding a before and after school care program. SON ministries runs this program at it’s Lexington campus and would like to start one at St. John. We also discussed the possibility of starting an Early Childhood learning center. The Journey School opened in Sept 2019 and has over 100 students and has an Early Childhood Learning center (leased to Head Start). While the Charter School is considered a public school and does not allow teaching the Word of God during school hours, the before/aftercare and ECL programs would allow it. These are great opportunities to teach the Word of God to the children and improve our Evangelism Outreach in our area. They said they would help start both of these programs and could provide teachers if needed. St John and Immanuel Hmong could partner in these programs, but that would not be required.
They have a skilled maintenance person on their board who helped them bring their Lexington Ave. Campus up to state code. He is very knowledgeable about what would be needed to bring our facility up to code. He has contacts with professionals who could do the things we are not capable of doing ourselves. They said they could take care of any janitorial and maintenance needs. An inspection of our facility was completed on Dec 15 and we are awaiting the results from that as to what upgrades would be required to meet state code and the cost. They also said they would be willing to bring the kitchen up to MDH standards for the preparation of meals for their students and possibly others.
We asked about using the school classrooms for St John and Immanuel Hmong Sunday School programs and using the Kitchen and Fellowship Hall for funerals or other special events on weekdays. Arrangements could be worked out so that we can do this.
They are willing to fund the cost of any upgrades with the understanding that we would give them a discount on the lease for the first couple of years until the cost for upgrades is recouped. We are still awaiting the estimate for upgrades.
A Special Voter’s meeting was held on Dec 13 to approve the Council recommendation to enter into a Letter of Intent to rent to SON Ministries / The Journey School. This motion was passed.
When a lease agreement is reached, another Voter’s meeting will be called to approve that.