Superintendent’s contract renewed

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December 17, 2012 // UPDATED 3:27 pm - December 29, 2012
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Citing her strong and stable leadership, the School Board on Nov. 27 unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson.

Johnson, who took over the district’s top job in 2010, will not see a raise in her base salary of $190,000, which is just slightly below what her predecessor, former Superintendent Bill Green, earned. But Johnson’s previous contract was also the first to include performance-pay incentives for a Minneapolis superintendent, and the School Board raised the ceiling on her annual bonus to $40,000 from $30,000.

School Board Chair Alberto Monserrate called the new contract a “fair and balanced agreement,” one that protects the interests of taxpayers and increases accountability for the district’s top administrator.

“Stability” may have been the buzzword of the evening. The new contract could keep Johnson in the superintendent’s position through the 2015–2016 school year, making her the longest-serving Minneapolis superintendent in a decade.

“The stability does mean a lot,” said Board Member Rebecca Gagnon, noting it has “made the difference” in other school districts.

Reading from a prepared statement, Johnson said the district was “making progress in some of the most critical areas” but also acknowledged “too many of our students are achieving at levels far below their potential.” She emphasized the importance of relationships and a district culture focused on student success, repeating a favorite phrase: “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

Johnson’s new contract takes effect after the end of the current school year.

The contract terms also include 28 paid vacation days in addition to 11 paid holidays and a $400-per-month automobile allowance. Johnson must contribute the same amount as other district employees to her health care plan, but the district will deposit $2,000 annually into her health savings account.

Following 2010–2011 school year, the first year under her current contract, the School Board awarded Johnson an annual bonus of $12,184, just more than 40 percent of the maximum bonus. Her bonus for the 2011–2012 has not yet been determined.