Budget & Finance

Minneapolis Ends Unique Management Contract

By Mark Walsh — June 04, 1997 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Minneapolis school board late last week abruptly ended its pioneering partnership with a private management company that has served as the district’s superintendent since 1993.

The school board and Public Strategies Group Inc. held a joint news conference May 29 to announce that they were ending the unusual arrangement. Board members and Peter Hutchinson, the PSG executive who effectively served as the 46,000-student district’s superintendent, denied that the change was prompted by recent controversies over disappointing test scores.

“That is not the case,” said a letter to school employees from Mr. Hutchinson and the school board chairman, Bill Green. “This change in leadership does not signify a change in direction.”

However, there has been widespread disappointment in the city’s African-American community over recent results from statewide tests showing that more than 90 percent of Minneapolis’ black students failed part of a basic-skills test. The school board has been criticized by the local chapters of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Search To Begin

psg has put into place “great structures and mechanisms for improving student achievement, and that’s what we hired them to do,” said Judy Farmer, a school board member. “But implementation is not their strong suit.”

Mr. Hutchinson is a former department store executive and state finance commissioner who was initially brought in to help manage a financial crisis. Impressed with his handling of that problem, the school board hired his company to serve as the district’s superintendent--the first arrangement of its kind in the nation. (“For-Profit Firm To Run District In Minneapolis,” Nov. 10, 1993.)

Under the performance-based contract, the district has paid the company about $1.1 million since 1994. Public Strategies won a contract renewal last year that was to run until 1998, but the agreement allows for either side to terminate it at any time.

This spring, amid the disappointing state test results, Mr. Hutchinson asked for a two-month leave of absence. Some board members indicated a desire to return to conventional leadership, observers said.

Katrina Reed, the district’s labor-relations director, was named interim superintendent. Officials said they would launch a nationwide search for a new schools chief.

Related Tags:


School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Budget & Finance Why Chronic Absenteeism Is a Budget Problem, Too
Chronic absenteeism has serious academic consequences. It also comes with a price tag.
7 min read
Illustration of empty school desks with scissors cutting 100 dollar bill.
F. Sheehan for Education Week + iStock / Getty Images Plus
Budget & Finance How to Build Voter Support for School Bonds: 5 Tips
A ‘steady drumbeat of communication’ with lots of detailed information go a long way, district leaders say.
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of Newton's Cradle: 4 balls on strings and one ball is pulled back and swinging towards other three. The one pulled back represents money and has a dollar sign on it.
Wenmei Zhou/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Budget & Finance Passing School Bonds Is Hard. Advice From 3 Superintendents Who Did It
‘Educating instead of campaigning’ in an era when district leaders are under a political microscope.
8 min read
Collage of a construction site and school grounds.
Collage via Canva
Budget & Finance Why Some K-12 Students Have to Pay for a Bus Ride to School
Transportation costs force some districts to consider charging fees for students who live near school buildings to ride the bus.
7 min read
Photo illustration of school bus and people exchanging cash.
F. Sheehan for Education Week + Getty