Minneapolis school board member resigns as educator strike continues

Minneapolis board director Josh Pauly resigned Wednesday

Updated: 3:30 p.m.

Minneapolis Public Schools board member Josh Pauly resigned from his position Wednesday, effective immediately.

His resignation comes in the middle of an educator strike that has kept students and teachers in the district out of classrooms for over a week. This week some educators picketed outside the homes of board members. 

Pauly, who worked as a licensed teacher in the district for several years before he joined the board, has not replied to MPR News’ request for comment. 

In a statement, current Minneapolis board chair Kim Ellison said school board work has become “increasingly difficult and at times deeply personal and confrontational.” She affirmed the need for school board directors to take care of themselves and their families. 

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Ellison said in a news conference that district negotiators had focused on contract language in discussions that day. She also said her team felt contract negotiations had progressed to the point that educators would soon be able to return to classrooms. 

“Movement looked so good, the district asked the union if we could ask the employees to go back to school while the adults continued to mediate to get a contract negotiated,” Ellison said. 

Union officials told KSTP-TV that the district had offered some contract language about case loads and that it represented progress.

Still, teachers returned to picket lines Thursday morning with no sign of ending their strike. About 30,000 students have missed 7 days of school since the strike began and close to 4,000 educators have gone without pay. 

Additionally, the school district’s senior officer of human resources, Maggie Sullivan, has resigned. Sullivan will move to a new job at the end of the month. She is part of the district’s bargaining team, currently negotiating on day 10 of an educator strike. Sullivan says she will continue on the team until the end of the strike.

District leaders have said the missed days of class will mean schools’ calendars will have to be adjusted to meet hours required by state statute.

“By early next week all schools, including elementary schools will be below their required hours,” said Minneapolis senior academic officer Aimee Fearing, who added that the revised calendar would be decided on after the strike is over.

”We know families want to know when these things will happen, but these decisions have not been made yet,” Fearing said.