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Minneapolis Public Schools district accused of concealing settlements with employees

Plus: a Minneapolis police officer is under federal investigation; mother speaks out after special needs child is bullied; janitors set one-day strike; Sanders passes Klobuchar in Minnesota small-donor donations; and more.

Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters
Minneapolis Public Schools
Minneapolis Public School district headquarters
A KSTP-TV investigation has uncovered lucrative settlements made to Minneapolis Public Schools employees that have, until now, been concealed: “The district has paid out more than $750,000 since 2013 to settle more than a dozen such claims — including nearly $250,000 to settle allegations that the district retaliated against whistleblowers. A review of board agendas and meeting minutes during that same time show the district released few details about the settlements in public meetings— a pattern that Don Samuels, a former school board member in Minneapolis, calls a “ridiculous” and direct attempt to hide taxpayer-funded payouts from the taxpayers.

Libor Jany and Randy Furst at the Star Tribune look into a case of a Minneapolis police officer under federal investigation in connection with various criminal allegations: “In the first, [Ty] Jindra allegedly got into a heated confrontation with a paramedic on a call; another accusation involved an aggressive arrest during a traffic stop; and in the third, he was accused of pressing the muzzle of his gun in the face of a suspect who was being handcuffed by other officers and was not resisting, the sources said.”

WCCO spoke to the mother of a special needs child following a bullying incident on the playground: “[Sineah Jones-Gray] says administrators confirmed there was a circle of 20 to 30 students, and a few attacked Khalil — kicking him repeatedly. … She was told a few students were suspended, but she feels the punishment isn’t enough. ‘I don’t feel like the five-day suspension is justifying. He could have long-term problems,’ Jones-Gray said.”

Matthew Guerry at the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports Minnesota prisons recently began to record the tribal affiliations of Native Americans inmates: “Officials hope that the years-in-the-making move will shed further light on racial disparities that exist within the state prison system. They say it could also give them a better idea of where inmates are going after their release and what their closest options for social service providers will be.”

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Mel Reeves at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder has an analysis of the suspension of Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty: “It has been rumored that the board took issue with her advocacy to increase public defenders’ pay and accused her of inflexibility, instilling a culture of fear in her office, making allegations of racism, even taking issue with a retweet condemning lynching. Many believe it is her outspokenness that brought on her suspension.

In other news…

What to do, or not to do: “Minnesota’s projected surplus rises to $1.5B, setting up spending battle” [Star Tribune]

Waged for better wages: “Thousands Of Twin Cities Janitors To Walk Off Job For 1-Day Strike Thursday” [WCCO]

One word: plastics: “Metro Transit expected to replace light-rail seats with plastic ones” [Star Tribune]

Fueling debate: “UMN confirms investments in fossil fuels, including ExxonMobil and Chevron” [Minnesota Daily]

We’ll see: “Majority of young voters in Minnesota plan to vote” [Star Tribune]

Interesting strategy: “Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson: ‘I’m not sure that I want to win’” [City Pages]

“A hundred-year decision”: “A gateway to campus: The vision for Stadium Village comes to fruition” [Minnesota Daily]

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Whoa, be gone: “Garrison Keillor event at NorShor prompts backlash” [Duluth News Tribune]

Edges out Klobuchar: “Bernie Sanders gets the most cash from Minnesota small-dollar donors” [Star Tribune]