When Simon Lægsgaard in 2008 was the superintendent of the Brandbjerg folk high School, he took over a debt of 12.5 million dollars, seven students and a message from the board about, that there would be surplus in his third year as superintendent.
At that time the school had not made a profit in 10 years. It was in deep crisis and lukningstruet.
‘It was only because we were young and naive, that we undertook the task. It then completely black out.’
the Brandbjerg folk high School has distinguished itself in recent weeks as the country’s folk high schools, coronakrisen could take as the first victim.
Why has Simon Lægsgaard with its hinterland taken up the fight, and they can carry part of the responsibility for the 31. march was negotiated a support package in place at 141 million dollars to the schools.
‘It is much more than a workplace. Damn… It’s a home. It is a dream. It is a life’s work,’ says the principal. He adds:
‘It is not just for me. Many of my staff live on site with their families. Leisure and work converge together at a school as the one here. So it is an identity that is threatened.’
But it was in 11. time, that help came. Two hours after that the assistance package was negotiated, should the board decide if the school should turn the key on.
After his second year as principal secured Simon Lægsgaard a profit of 10.842 crowns.
A narrow rescue. But just like back in school once again, survived a great crisis. At least for a while.
2020 accounted to be Brandbjerg Højskole best year in school history.
100 students lived at the school, before they had to send them home because of the coronaudbruddet. The school has 45-50 courses in the course of the year, where additional 100-200 people looking past the school in the course of a week, and so was the calendar filled with conferences.
According to Simon Lægsgaard is it a pioneering spirit that time and time again get the Brandbjerg folk high School through the crises. A very strong student association started in both crowdfunding and folkeaktier, when the crisis began to threaten.
Although it had been an advantage for the superintendent’s nerve-wracking meeting with the board, that the emergency plan was in place a few days earlier, he is grateful for the support, many political rapporteurs have given to the high schools.
‘You must not scold the politicians out, when they give an aid package. Many politicians have insisted that high schools must not be sacrificed,’ he strikes firmly.
When Simon Lægsgaard must look beyond the individual challenges, a bankruptcy had meant to him, the staff, pupils, students, former students, and the community, would the loss of the schools will be the worst for society as a whole:
‘the School has changed the lives of the majority of those who have experienced it. We show the potentials of people, there is no space for a narrow education. And so it is a 175-year-old cultural heritage, which has helped to create it here the community.’
Simon Lægsgaard think, especially in the time after coronakrisen will need more schools than ever before. There is a need for the community, which undeniably belongs to:
‘the Story shows that the high schools are growing just after a crisis. Whether it is wars or the financial crisis. See just now, where people sit and sing community singing out the windows. It is as if something in the school spirit.’
With the tools can Brandbjerg Højskole survive to the after the summer, but in the long run, there is still a large debt burden, and a uomgåeligt renovation project of the school, which has been neglected for many years.