The Minneapolis School District approved a new contract Tuesday for Superintendent Ed Graff, granting him a $15,000 salary boost over the next three years.
Graff’s contract, which begins July 1, will pay him an annual salary of $230,000. His current contract expires June 30 and pays him $225,000.
The school board discussed the terms of the contract at its regular meeting Tuesday and made the contract public on the district’s website. It passed 8-0. KerryJo Felder was absent.
Graff said he’s pleased to continue his work to better serve the Minneapolis school community.
The chief of the state’s third-largest school system, who’s completing his third year, has implemented a districtwide elementary literacy curriculum and erased a multi-million dollar budget shortage. Under his leadership, the district passed a $30 million referendum that Graff noted would help him implement his top priorities: literacy, equity, social and emotional learning and support services for students.
But the leader of the more than 34,000-student school system still has some more work to do. According to the latest test scores, Minneapolis Public Schools reported flat scores in math and only a marginal increase in reading scores. In math, 42 percent of students met state standards; in reading, nearly 45 percent of students were proficient — up from 43 percent the year before.
Meanwhile, disparities persist between the district’s students of color and their white peers. There’s a 59-percentage-point difference between the two student groups in reading and a 60-percentage-point gap in math, according to state education officials.
Under his new strategic plan, which he’s close to signing off on, Graff said he will redouble the district’s efforts to improve academic achievement, increase enrollment and maintain a sustainable funding base.
“We have seen success over the last three years, and with a strong team in place, better systems of accountability, and more stable finances we can focus even more intently on accelerating academic gains for all of our students,” Graff said in an e-mailed statement.
But during a robust public hearing, some community activists and family advocates pushed back against the renewal of his contract, pointing to the district’s poor academics and disparities in discipline between students of color and white students.
Board members said renewing the contract will restore stability and consistency in the embattled district. Newly elected Board Member Kimberly Caprini, who’s also an active parent, said renewing the contract is the right thing to do.
“This is the first time in 12 years that I have seen some consistency in our schools,” Caprini said. “It’s the first time that I have seen some accountability being held in schools and at the district level.”
Graff’s contract also includes a monthly car allowance that would increase from $400 to $420.
He can cash out up to 10 vacation days annually if they are not used. He can accumulate up to 36 days of sick leave; unused days would be paid out at his daily rate of pay.