Edgcumbe Talmud Torah
The old Edgcumbe School is home to the Talmud Torah of Saint Paul and Cyber Village Academy.

Fifty-seven years after the Saint Paul Public Schools became legally separated from Saint Paul city government, the process of transferring property ownership to the school district is underway. The Saint Paul City Council on February 23 approved the transfer of the first six properties from the former Special School District of Saint Paul to Independent School District 625. 

The transfers include Adams Spanish Immersion School at 615 S. Chatsworth St., Horace Mann Elementary at 2001 Eleanor Ave., the Highland Park Middle School-High School complex at Snelling and Montreal avenues, and the former Edgcumbe School at 768 S. Hamline Ave.

About 60 properties will eventually be conveyed from the city to the school district. It is not clear why the properties were not transferred to the district back in 1965, when the Minnesota Legislature approved the separation of school district and city government, forming District 625. According to the legislation, transferring the property ownership to the school district was to have been part of the process.

City real estate and school officials have described the property transfers as technical steps toward clearing up land titles. The school district has maintained the properties since 1965, said district spokesperson Kevin Burns.

“It’s a title change exercise,” said Bruce Engelbrekt, real estate manager for the city.

“It’s a title change exercise,” said Bruce Engelbrekt, real estate manager for the city.

A recent title search by school district staff identified 60 properties that have long been under the jurisdiction of the school district, but whose titles have remained in the city’s name. A City Council resolution states that the school district requested that the city convey the school properties to the school district.


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As part of the transfer, the school district is providing title evidence and maps of the properties. The City Council action directs city staff to convey the properties to the district by quit claim deed.

More properties will be brought to the council for action in the weeks ahead.

Of the local schools involved in the first round of title transfers, Adams is the oldest, built in 1924. Horace Mann dates from 1930, and the school at Edgcumbe from 1931. The Highland Middle-High School campus first opened to students in 1957.

Edgcumbe now houses the Talmud Torah of Saint Paul and Cyber Village Academy. When that property was sold to Talmud Torah in 1989, neighbors unsuccessfully sued to block the sale. What is not clear is how the school district was able to sell the property in 1989 without the title to it.

The other school properties involved in the transfer are Humboldt Secondary and Open World Learning on the West Side, and Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet on the East Side.

— Jane McClure


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