Minneapolis School District Ends Expensive Relationship With Non-Profit

Updated: 10/10/2014 7:26 PM
Created: 10/10/2014 4:33 PM KSTP.com
By: Lindsey Brown
A non-profit hired by Minneapolis Public Schools to help close the achievement gap was fired Friday. The district announced it’s terminating a $375,000 contract with Community Standards Initiative (CSI), because it didn’t have the resources to get the job done.
CSI got the contract in May. The group was supposed to enroll hundreds of students by last month. It fell short on that goal. The school says it didn’t have the resources to help those who did sign up.
Local education activist Nekima Levy-Pounds says this move is a positive one. Levy-Pounds is an attorney who works at the University of St. Thomas and with Brotherhood Inc., which gives young black men a safe place to go and help finding jobs. She knows the people hurt most by the achievement gap.
“For the volume of resources that are involved in this situation it’s not a stretch to think we could have set up high-quality tutoring centers across the community, effective art programs, youth employment opportunities. Instead, we see resources be expended in situations that seem unjustified,” said Levy-Pounds.
Levy-Pounds and Black Advocates for Education want there to be an investigation into why the district awarded CSI the contract. They have sent a letter to district leaders demanding answers.
“We have a pattern of false starts within the district in terms of programs being set up that are largely ineffective, initiatives that are rolled out that don’t achieve results, and we are sick and tired of seeing that,” Levy-Pounds said.
Minneapolis Public Schools declined to speak on camera about this story. A spokesperson said they’ll work to closely monitor the kids who signed up in the CSI program to make sure they get the support they need this year. We’ve been unable to reach CSI or its leadership for comment on this story.

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