MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis school board has rejected a Massachusetts candidate who had been selected to lead the Minneapolis School District.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to not continue contract negotiations with Sergio Paez.

Board members cited widespread public concern over allegations of abuse of special education students at a school in Paez's previous school district in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Paez says he's disappointed the school board voted not to resume contract negotiations. But he says he understands and respects the board's decision.

The Star Tribune reports the board after a recess and an interruption by protesters tabled a decision on whether to start contract negotiations with interim Superintendent Michael Goar.

Paez was selected to lead the district last month after a 10-month national search.