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The Minneapolis school board awarded Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson a $12,000 performance bonus Tuesday, less than half the $30,000 possible. Last month it voted her a new three-year contract.

David Joles, Star Tribune

Minneapolis schools superintendent gets $12,000 bonus

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT
  • Star Tribune
  • December 18, 2012 - 11:18 PM

Minneapolis Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson won a performance bonus of more than $12,000 Tuesday night.

The board met first in a closed session to review Johnson's performance. The board last month voted Johnson a new three-year contract that will begin next summer after her initial three-year contract expires.

The bonus of $12,390 is up just slightly from last year's $12,184 award. It is calculated on a set of about 20 academic measures, plus qualitative ratings given by board members for Johnson's work in five areas.

Board member Carla Bates said the extension of Johnson's contract recognizes that she's put the right strategies in place, but said the board also feels the resulting academic progress has been slow. Bigger gains in student achievement and more progress in closing the racial achievement gap will result in a bigger award, she said.

The board's evaluation tool has granted Johnson less than half of the $30,000 performance bonus for which she was eligible in the last two years. But it recently raised the maximum possible award in her new contract to $40,000. She will continue to be paid her present base salary of $190,000 annually.

Also Tuesday, the board tabled a revision in the district's academic eligibility standard for sports, other competitive activities such as debate and student leadership posts.

The district currently requires competitors to have a grade point average of 2.0, or a C. The proposed policy would have allowed students with a lower GPA to compete if they raised their grades by at least 0.1 point from the previous quarter. In a rare split vote, however, the board voted 5-3 for an amendment requiring a minimum 1.1 GPA, regardless of quarter-to-quarter improvement.

The debate revolved around whether it's better to keep students engaged in school through a sport by making it easier to qualify or to hold onto current academic standards. Keeping students engaged gives the district a chance to help them improve academically that it won't have if they drop out, board member Rebecca Gagnon said.

Mike Tate, a community volunteer who coaches football at North Commons Park, urged the board to keep its eligibility standards high, saying such requirements command respect.

But several board members said they need more information and some wanted to wait until a new athletic director is hired. Only board member Rebecca Gagnon voted against tabling her committee's proposal indefinitely.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

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