MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis Public Schools had no shortage of leadership in 2014-15, at least on paper.

At the top of the district’s leadership chart are a superintendent, chief executive officer, chief operations officer, chief of schools, six associate superintendents and an assistant to the superintendent.

They all made at least $100,000 per year in straight salary.

The district also had no shortage of top administrators in charge of instruction and education quality.

There is a chief academic officer, a deputy chief academic officer, an executive director of teaching and learning, a deputy education officer, and an executive director of college and career readiness.

Each of them also made at least $100,000 per year in straight salary.

With all of those highly-paid administrators running the show, one might expect a school district with a record of academic excellence.

But that’s hardly the case.

The district’s 2014-15 report cards shows the percentage of MPS students scoring proficient in English, math and science was below the statewide percentage.
Far below.

In each of the 20 report card categories – math in grades 3-8, grade 11 and all grades, reading in grades 3-8, grade 10 and all grades, and science in fifth grade, eighth grade, high school and all grades – MPS was at least 11 percentage points behind the state average.

In 11th grade math, an average of 48.7 percent of students across the state tested proficient, compared to 28.5 percent of MPS students, a difference of 20.2 percent.

In 10th grade reading, 57.2 percent were proficient statewide, while only 31.7 percent were proficient at MPS.That’s a difference of 25.5 percent.

In high school science, the differential was 54.9 percent to 33.9 percent, a 21 percent gap.

Yet MPS keeps throwing big money at its top administrators, who are ultimately responsible for student learning and achievement. A total of 79 district employees, most of them administrators of one type or another, made at least $100,000 in salary in 2014-15.

The top 10 were Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson ($190,000), CEO Michael Goar ($175,000), Chief Operating Officer Robert Doty ($165,000), Chief of Schools Michael Thoms ($151,000), Chief Academic Officer Susanne Griffin ($151,000), Deputy Chief Operating Officer Mark Bollinger ($144,583), Chief Information Officer Richard Valerga ($144,583), General Counsel Steven Liss ($144,583), Associate Superintendent Cecilia Saddler ($141,500) and Deputy Education Officer Elia Dimayuga-Bruggeman ($141,500).

The top 10 made a combined $1.5 million in straight salary.

Some might argue that a school district must offer big salaries to attract quality administrators.

But are the people of Minneapolis really satisfied with the results?

Alissa Mack contributed to this report.

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