District, Graff reach extension terms

School Board to vote on contract next month

Minneapolis Public Schools and Superintendent Ed Graff have agreed to terms on a contract extension, School Board Chairman Nelson Inz announced at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The contract’s approval is pending a School Board vote next month.

The new three-year contract would pay Graff $230,000 annually and would allow him to cash out 10 vacation days annually instead of five, General Counsel Amy Moore said. Graff would also be able to cash out unused sick leave, Moore said.

The contract does not include language from the current agreement related to relocation, transition and licensure, Moore said.

Graff started with MPS in July 2016, after over 20 years with the Anchorage, Alaska, school district, including three as superintendent. He’s prioritized literacy, social-emotional learning, equity and student supports during his 2 1/2 years with MPS, installing a new elementary literacy curriculum and re-organizing the district’s central office, among other efforts.

Graff’s current contract includes a $225,000 annual base salary, 35 days of paid vacation and 12 paid sick days. The contract gives the School Board discretion to increase Graff’s base salary contract based on his performance, though it has not done so to date.

Inz’s announcement came about four months after the board gave Graff high marks in a 2017-18 performance review. A majority of board members found that Graff met at least 80 percent of the “implementation steps” for five goals in the evaluation tool, according to a public evaluation summary. A majority of members provided positive comments about a sixth goal, the operations of the district, the summary said.

Inz said Tuesday that he appreciated Graff’s patience as the board worked through a new contract. He said the district is in a completely different place than it was three years ago, noting past questions about the budget and the district’s future.

He said he hopes the board approves the contract.

Graff said after the meeting that he’s pleased to be able to continue the work the district is doing.

A $230,000 base salary appears comparable to superintendents in surrounding districts.

St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard has a base salary of $232,000, according to multiple media reports, and Edina Public Schools Superintendent John Schultz had a base salary of $220,000 in 2017-18.

Former MPS Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, who resigned in December 2014, had a base salary of $190,000 and was eligible for up to $40,000 in annual performance bonuses.