The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced Thursday that it expects to finalize agreements with each of the 43 school districts and charter schools that it has said should work to reduce disparities in the suspension and expulsion of students of color and those with disabilities.

Thirty-five schools or districts have indicated they've signed off on the deals, and five others have forged tentative agreements with the state, the department said.

Negotiations continue with Global Academy charter school in Columbia Heights and with the Moorhead and St. Cloud school districts. Those deals are expected to be reached by the start of the school year, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said in a news release.

Last fall, the department invited the 43 districts and charter schools to work with it to develop what the department described as "corrective action strategies."

According to a department analysis, American Indian students in the state were 10 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers, and black students were eight times more likely — disparities worse than those reported nationally.

Lindsey commended the districts and schools for working to "ensure the next generation of Minnesota students have the opportunity to be in class, succeed and reach their educational goals."

Anthony Lonetree