Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota State leaders will spend several months and $300,000 learning from trailblazers outside of higher education in hopes of inspiring innovation across the 375,000-student system. Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and Board of Trustees chairman Michael Vekich this week said the system must take risks and try new things in the face of slumping state investment and declining public confidence in higher education. Innovation, Malhotra said, is "critical to our future."
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.—An alumnus who gave $300,000 to St. John's University wants the money back, but the school says it doesn't have the authority. California attorney Roger Lindmark says the Collegeville, Minn., institution has mismanaged his gifts by awarding endowed funds to several students who didn't earn them. "Universities need to learn there are consequences when they don't do their job in fulfilling the parameters of an endowment set up for a specific purpose," he wrote in a 2017 letter to the school's president.
ST. PAUL—A class-action lawsuit that seeks to desegregate Twin Cities-area public schools can move forward, the Minnesota Supreme Court said Wednesday, July 25. The parent plaintiffs in Cruz-Guzman v. State of Minnesota argue the state has enabled racial segregation in the seven-county metro area by allowing single-race charter schools and letting families enroll outside their assigned schools and school districts. The resulting segregated schools, they say, fail to provide an adequate education to students of color.
ST. PAUL — The bankruptcy estate for McNally Smith College of Music will have nearly $1 million to distribute to creditors following the sale of the downtown St. Paul building and music equipment. A three-day auction of recording equipment, amplifiers, musical instruments and more brought in $909,175 last week, according to a preliminary report to the bankruptcy trustee. The estate previously received another $60,000 for items in the college cafeteria and auditorium.
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota says students who can't get into its increasingly selective Twin Cities flagship will be steered to the four coordinate campuses as the system looks to grow by 3,000 undergraduates over the next six years. The Twin Cities campus accounts for 71 percent of the system's 44,544 degree-seeking undergraduates. But the campuses in Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Rochester must bear 69 percent of the enrollment growth in order for the system to meet its 2024 target.
HUDSON, Wis. — The husband of a former St. Paul school administrator who played a role in stealing money from their church joined his wife in being sentenced Monday. Michael LaVenture, 47, of Roberts, Wis., pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor theft charges under a deal that will let him work to pay back New Centerville United Methodist Church. However, he'll spend one month in jail with work release each of the next three years.
ST. PAUL—Four St. Paul Public Schools teachers say they fear for their jobs after reporting a colleague for numerous incidents of sexual harassment. Teacher Bruce Goodwin was suspended for two days in November 2015 after admitting he sent a woman co-worker at Ben Mays Elementary a photo of his penis with the caption, "Make it grow please," according to a discipline letter the district released in response to a records request. Goodwin also admitted he repeatedly solicited hugs from a second woman teacher at the school.
ST. PAUL -- Inside at least one St. Paul Public Schools building Tuesday, May 29, it was hotter than it was outdoors. Two-thirds of district schools have no air conditioning, prompting officials to deliver hundreds of fans and thousands of water bottles as temperatures hit 90 for a sixth consecutive day. Mark Westpfahl found his Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet classroom at 84 when he arrived for work Tuesday. The school’s thermometer doesn’t go any higher so the teacher brought his own, which registered 94 around 11 a.m.
ST. PAUL—Plans to scrub a slave-owning U.S. president's name from two school buildings here have rankled alumni of the former Monroe High School. The old high school is one of two campuses of the K-8 Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, with buildings in the Summit Hill and West Seventh neighborhoods. Its namesake, James Monroe, was the fifth U.S. president, one of 12 to own slaves during his lifetime and one of eight to do so while in office.
ST. PAUL—Achievement gaps between whites and students of color are closing somewhat at Minnesota State two-year colleges but growing at the system's seven universities. Over the past four years, the 30 colleges saw broad improvement in their three-year completion rates. Fifty-eight percent of white students finished school on time, up 3.2 percentage points, while students of color as a group improved 4.6 points, to 43.5 percent.