Minneapolis School Board Approves Teacher Contract, Hires Superintendent Search Firm

March 9, 2016 | Minneapolis Star Tribune

By Alejandra Matos

The Minneapolis school board approved a new two-year contract for its teachers.

Educators will get a pay raise, 2.5 percent retroactive to Jan. 1 and 1.5 percent on July 1. The district also committed to maintain a class size of 18 to 24 students at low-performing schools, increase classroom preparation time for teachers and reduce the number of student assessments.

More than 87 percent of teachers approved the contract, according to interim superintendent Michael Goar.

The new contract, which was approved by the board Tuesday, will cost the district about $7 million. St. Paul’s tentative agreement with its teachers will cost that district $25 million.

"I extend my congratulations to everyone to coming to an agreement. This is an exciting day,” said board chairwoman Jenny Arneson.

Progress in superintendent search

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the district also hired DHR International, a Chicago-based executive search firm, to help find the district’s next superintendent. The firm will play a big role in recruiting potential candidates, a departure from the boards initial commitment to hiring a firm with a limited scope of work.

Last month the board voted to hire a search firm that would mostly serve as a clearing house, processing applications and serving as a point of contact for applicants. The board wanted to rely less on an external firm after its initial search process with Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, a superintendent search firm, did not result in the district successfully hiring a superintendent.

But when the district began interviewing firms, only one firm agreed to serving in a limited capacity.

“It’s not just about getting names. It’s about reaching out, selling potential folks on the district, leading those potential candidates to the district,” said Amy Moore, the district’s attorney. "There is a lot of hand holding."

Still the board intends to establish a search committee that will vet all applicants and recommend three finalists to the board. In the previous process, only HYA saw the full slate of candidates.

The board also approved a contract with Radious Y. Guess, a community engagement facilitator, who will reach out to parents, teachers and other community members for input on who should lead the district.

The board approved a contract with DHR, the search firm, for up to $85,000 and another with Guess for up to $70,000.

“We are now in a place to accept resumes, and that’s a huge step,” Arneson said.