St. Paul Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard again on Tuesday earned positive marks in his annual job review, as well as hopes from school board members they can extend his time atop the state's second-largest district.

The board announced it plans to begin negotiating renewal of the three-year contract Gothard signed in 2017.

"Board members look forward to continuing to work with the superintendent on the continued implementation of the 'SPPS Achieves' strategic plan and the overall operations of the district," Board Chairwoman Zuki Ellis said Tuesday night in summarizing an Aug. 13 closed-door evaluation.

While the board noted that Gothard had set a strong foundation for the district, most notably with a new strategic plan that calls for efforts to turn around its middle schools, the board also identified five "key areas for growth." Among them: Strengthening the district's finances and addressing "ongoing concerns" about the effectiveness of the district's operations, including its long-range facilities master plan.

This spring, the district ordered an outside review of its facilities-management practices after costs soared in the first wave of projects launched in 2016.

On the fiscal front, St. Paul has continued to struggle to balance its budgets even after voters approved more than $17 million a year in new funding for schools.

Gothard, who is paid $232,000 a year, did not seek a raise as part of last year's review, which came to the same conclusion as this one: The board is pleased with his work and confident in his leadership.

No one mentioned a raise Tuesday night. Asked if one was coming, Kevin Burns, the district's communications director, pointed to the board's hopes of reaching a new deal with Gothard.

"In other words, details are yet to be determined," he said.

After the evaluation summary was read, Gothard said he was motivated and inspired by the board's belief in the district and committed to improving student outcomes. He looked forward, he added, to the next stage of their work together — and to a second contract.