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St. Paul, Minn., Schools Chief Gets Contract Renewal

The St. Paul, Minn., school board has extended the contract of Superintendent Valeria Silva.

On a 6-1 vote, the board also granted Silva a 4 percent pay increase that will boost her base salary to $213,000. She's currently paid about $205,000 annually.

An English-language learner, Silva has worked in the district since 1987 and served as superintendent since 2009. (Silva was among Education Week's 2013 class of Leaders To Learn From.) 

"We are in an enviable position in St. Paul of having a long serving superintendent who is committed to seeing our strategic plan through to implementation. We are also fortunate to have a superintendent who has 'come up through the ranks' of our district," a school board statement read. "She is a teacher and administrator from our district with deep experience and strong connections with people which helps our community and most important, our children."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and other city leaders have rallied behind Silva's efforts to improve the academic performance of students of color and boost the graduation rates for English-language learners and black students.

Silva's critics argue that her perfomance has been less than stellar, citing stagnant enrollment in the 38,000-student district and initiatives that have done little to narrow the achievement gap between students of color and white students, the paper noted.

The new deal comes as the Caucus for Change, a group backed by the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, mounts an effort to get more teacher-friendly candidates elected to the school board in November, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

John Brodrick, the lone board member to vote against Silva's contract renewal, said there is a disconnect between Silva's board meeting reports and what he hears from staff members and parents, especially about violence in schools, the Pioneer Press reports.

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