After weeks of waiting for any of the “leaders” involved in mess between Minneapolis Public Schools and the Community Standards initiative, the MPS Board Chair, Dick Mammen, was the first to break his silence.
Yesterday he sent this legalistic and snarky response to BAE’s open letter:
Professor Levy-Pounds et al,
In response to the 10/8/14 “Open Letter Re: CSI Debacle and Calls for an Independent Investigation” authored by the Black Advocates for Education I offer the following on behalf of the Minneapolis Board of Education specific to the statements, questions and demands made.
1) It is the opinion of our District Counsel that Professional Service Agreements, such as the contract with New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church for CSI services, do not require a public bidding process.
2) Professional Service Agreements commonly appear on the “consent agenda” for approval. Board members have the opportunity to move specific items from the consent agenda for discussion and specific action.
3) The New Bethel contract was included on the consent agenda at the 5/13/14 Board of Education meeting. I am confident that all board members were fully aware of the performance-based contract as negotiated and recommended by the superintendent and her leadership team.
4) The board unanimously approved the consent agenda on an 8-0 vote. (Director Ellison was not in attendance due to illness).
5) We do not approve contracts behind closed doors. All communications of staff and board members are discoverable, all committee and board meetings are open to the public and I believe we have abided by all standards of transparency.
6) The board will participate fully in any investigation ordered by an appropriate authority pertaining to this contract or any other matter concerning alleged “breaches of leadership.”
7) Any further allegations, questions or demands should be directed to our District Counsel for response.
This board and staff are aware of, and working diligently to address, the educational disparities for our students of color. We will continue to reach out for community-driven solutions and engagement to achieve more equitable results.
Lastly, on a personal note, I fully concur with your statement: “It’s a crying shame that while adults play political games for self-enrichment and to increase their personal influence, Minneapolis students are suffering and their potential is being stifled.” Let’s move forward.