Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
HUDSON, Wis. — The husband of a former St. Paul school administrator who played a role in stealing money from their church joined his wife in being sentenced Monday. Michael LaVenture, 47, of Roberts, Wis., pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor theft charges under a deal that will let him work to pay back New Centerville United Methodist Church. However, he'll spend one month in jail with work release each of the next three years.
ST. PAUL—Four St. Paul Public Schools teachers say they fear for their jobs after reporting a colleague for numerous incidents of sexual harassment. Teacher Bruce Goodwin was suspended for two days in November 2015 after admitting he sent a woman co-worker at Ben Mays Elementary a photo of his penis with the caption, "Make it grow please," according to a discipline letter the district released in response to a records request. Goodwin also admitted he repeatedly solicited hugs from a second woman teacher at the school.
ST. PAUL -- Inside at least one St. Paul Public Schools building Tuesday, May 29, it was hotter than it was outdoors. Two-thirds of district schools have no air conditioning, prompting officials to deliver hundreds of fans and thousands of water bottles as temperatures hit 90 for a sixth consecutive day. Mark Westpfahl found his Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet classroom at 84 when he arrived for work Tuesday. The school’s thermometer doesn’t go any higher so the teacher brought his own, which registered 94 around 11 a.m.
ST. PAUL—Plans to scrub a slave-owning U.S. president's name from two school buildings here have rankled alumni of the former Monroe High School. The old high school is one of two campuses of the K-8 Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, with buildings in the Summit Hill and West Seventh neighborhoods. Its namesake, James Monroe, was the fifth U.S. president, one of 12 to own slaves during his lifetime and one of eight to do so while in office.
ST. PAUL—Achievement gaps between whites and students of color are closing somewhat at Minnesota State two-year colleges but growing at the system's seven universities. Over the past four years, the 30 colleges saw broad improvement in their three-year completion rates. Fifty-eight percent of white students finished school on time, up 3.2 percentage points, while students of color as a group improved 4.6 points, to 43.5 percent.
MINNEAPOLIS—An African-American instructor says her race and sex played a role in the University of Minnesota's decision to postpone and ultimately squash her shot at a tenured position. Yolanda Majors' lawsuit against the U was thrown out last year by a Hennepin County District Judge Mel Dickstein. But the Court of Appeals last month revived the case, saying Dickstein erred in his decision.
ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota paid $282,000 to resolve two sexual harassment complaints against former athletics director Norwood Teague, according to newly released documents. Teague resigned without additional compensation in August 2015 after the university decided to investigate his behavior at a July 15 senior leadership retreat. Ann Aronson, deputy chief of staff to President Eric Kaler, and Erin Dady, a special assistant to the president, later said publicly that they were the recipients of Teague's unwanted attention.
ST. PAUL—If a bankruptcy trustee can't sell the McNally Smith College of Music building before the end of the year, there may be no money left for students, employees and other creditors. The downtown St. Paul school abruptly closed in December, leaving employees unpaid for weeks of work, despite taking in $564,000 in prepaid spring semester tuition. Students, employees and others have filed unsecured claims for about $6.5 million. Whether any of them get paid will depend on how much the trustee can get for the school building.
MINNEAPOLIS—Two former students say Minneapolis-based Capella University lied about how much time and money it would take to complete an advanced degree. Kansas resident Carolyn Wright and Debbra Kennedy of Tennessee filed a class-action lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. Wright, who began pursuing a doctor of nursing practice in spring 2014, said she was told it would take two years and cost about $35,000. But Capella's website later said the program takes 30 months, the complaint alleges, and that figure was then revised to 39 months.
ST. PAUL — Between March and November last year, the co-founders of McNally Smith College of Music loaned the school $1.33 million in a failed attempt to keep the St. Paul school in business. That's according to filings in two bankruptcy cases — one for the school and another for Jack McNally personally. The for-profit college's gross income, records show, fell from $10.6 million in 2016 to $9.6 million a year later amid declining enrollment and increases in tuition discounts.