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Mpls. schools 'committed' to investigating complaints against superintendent pick

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Minneapolis Public Schools says it's "committed" to thoroughly investigating recent allegations against the preferred new choice to be district superintendent before finalizing any deal with him.

The district voted in favor of Sergio Paez as the next leader of the city's public school system.

But two days later, the Disability Law Center in Massachusetts released a report about his time as superintendent of Holyoke Public Schools. The report claimed there was a pattern of excessive force and psychological abuse against special needs students at Peck School during that time.

On Friday, Minneapolis Public Schools put out a news release saying information about the Holyoke complaints was not available before the board voted to select Paez on Dec. 7.

They've since reached out to Massachusetts education officials about those complaints at Peck School, and in the release note that during the hiring process, a "thorough background check and multiple discussions with professional references" for Paez were done.

Paez told The Journal claims made by parents of children in the Peck School program were investigated, saying “there was no finding of any wrongdoing from the administration or the schools.” He added he is working with attorneys to make sure the district understands it was taken care of and “we oversaw the process.”

Contract not yet signed

While Paez was selected as the preferred candidate to lead Minneapolis schools, he hasn't actually signed a contract yet – the parties were in a negotiating phase, and the district planned to send two Minneapolis Board of Education directors to Holyoke before finalizing things.

That will happen next week, Friday's release says. The directors will conduct in-person conversations with associates of Paez.

The board says it "is committed to finding and evaluating all pertinent information" about the new complaints before finalizing things with Paez.

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