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The Minneapolis school board announced last week that its only candidate for superintendent is Carol Johnson, a 20-year veteran of the system who now heads the neighboring St. Louis Park schools.

Ms. Johnson, a well-liked administrator who would be the 47,000-student district's first woman and second African-American superintendent, was scheduled to respond to questions this week at a public interview.

If she takes the job, Ms. Johnson would replace Peter Hutchinson, whose St. Paul firm, Public Strategies Group Inc., managed the Minneapolis schools for three years. That unusual arrangement ended abruptly last month.

The Minneapolis schools are under fire for a high dropout rate and low test scores.

Citing these "urgent times," Bill Green, the chairman of the school board, said members decided they couldn't afford a lengthy search process.

"The community could not be more clear that it wants the school district to act with urgency," he said at a press conference. "Children are learning, or failing to learn, today.''

There will be a little extra money to go around for Idaho students this year and for a long time to come, thanks to Kathryn Albertson's generosity.

The widow of supermarket-chain founder Joe Albertson recently donated all of her shares in the company, Albertson's Inc., to the family's charitable foundation, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. The transfer of shares has boosted the foundation's assets from $400 million to $700 million, making it the 33rd-largest foundation in the nation, according to the foundation's executive director, Sharron Jarvis.

The donation will provide $35 million a year in grants for educating the state's 250,000 students.

"This will benefit school districts and ultimately the state," Ms. Jarvis said.

The Boise-based foundation has centered its efforts on K-12 education and teacher education for the past three years. The bulk of Ms. Albertson's gift will be used to pay for innovative projects and school improvements throughout Idaho.

"We will be looking for large projects that will have long-term effects," Ms. Jarvis said.


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