Minnesota Supreme Court to review challenge to Minneapolis Public Schools’ protections for teachers of color

The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case challenging language in the state’s third-largest school district’s teachers’ contract.

The lawsuit dates back to August 2022, when the conservative group Judicial Watch sued Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) over contract language providing protections for teachers of color.

Article 15 of the district’s contract with teachers — which was set during the collective bargaining process amid a teacher strike in 2022 — says MPS shouldn’t lay off a teacher who is part of an underrepresented population at a school and should instead excess the next least senior teacher.

A district court initially dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing but the Minnesota Court of Appeals allowed it to go forward back in December because Minneapolis residents help fund the district through property taxes, giving them standing.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court granted the district’s petition for review in the case. Specifically, the state’s high court will determine whether the appellate court properly determined that a resident has standing to challenge language in a teacher contract they’re not part of and whether or not there is actually a justiciable controversy that will imminently happen.

The district argues that Deborah Clapp, the resident on whose behalf Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit, lacks “any legal interest or right in the CBA, let alone any cognizable legal interest or right that needs protection from any direct or imminent threat of injury.”

The court hasn’t yet set a date for the next hearing.