The Minneapolis school board on Tuesday offered a $70,000 contract to a company to host a series of community listening sessions as the state’s third-largest district develops a list of features to consider in its search. of a new superintendent.
Three vendors bid for the job. The board chose EPU Consultants on a 7-2 vote. This firm led the 2016 search that resulted in the eventual hiring of left Superintendent Ed Graff.
Council members Sharon El-Amin and Adriana Cerrillo cast the dissenting votes, in part because they supported the offer presented by local activists National Parents Union Minnesota.
“We are looking for authentic, real and engaged community engagement with this new process.” El-Amin said. “For me, I lean towards the National Parents Union because they’ve been in that space. They’ve always shown up.”
When hiring a superintendent, districts typically employ a company to conduct community engagement and lead the search for candidates. Minneapolis board members opted to split the process in two, a point that El-Amin and Cerrillo said were partly undermined by deciding not to offer the contract to a group that includes parents of district in its ranks.
“I think we’re really at a time in history where we can go in a different direction and we can show the community that we’re together,” Cerrillo said.
Council members also debated which bidder would help the beleaguered district regain the trust of the community and the quality of new council members – the majority of the council will leave office after next week’s election – could work with the winning company.
Board Chair Kim Ellison started the meeting by saying that the community engagement portion of the superintendent search will run through January. This part of the process was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.
While Ellison reminded board members that they need to hire a company now to meet this new deadline, board member Kimberly Caprini added that she doesn’t believe a company will move forward. things to gain the trust of the community.
“I have to be realistic – I don’t see it happening to the point where we can say we finally figure it out,” she said. “We’re a neighborhood of so many different mindsets, so many different values, so many different experiences.”
Other board members also took issue with the disparity between the potential cost of each contract, which ranged from $15,000 to $91,000.
The parents’ union had the lowest offer and the highest UPE. A third company, BWP & Associates, offered $61,000 for the work.
Board member Nelson Inz proposed an amendment to cap the cost of the contract at $70,000, which passed by a 5-4 vote after Caprini failed to pass an amendment to set a cap of $57,000.