February 12, 2018 07:01 PM
After several days of negotiations, including a few marathon sessions over the weekend, the St. Paul Public School District has averted a strike with teachers and staff.
On Monday, hours before teachers and staff were set to hit the picket line, the district superintendent, the teacher's union and the mayor of St. Paul held a new conference to discuss the tentative deal.
While the terms of the contract won't be made public until union members vote on it and the Board of Education approves it, the union had pointed to three big concerns: class size, resources for English language learners, and restricting case loads for special needs teachers.
In the end, the union said it is pleased with the progress made in all three areas.
Both sides say the constraints of limited resources is the main problem. The St. Paul Federation of Teachers said it plans to work with the district to get creative about bringing more money in.
"We've talked about this with the board and superintendent, how to deal with declining enrollment and being out and doing some sort of recruitment campaign," said union President Nick Faber.
Superintendent Joe Gothard says collaborating will be key in the months and years ahead.
"We live in a partnership-rich community," Gothard said. "It's incredible, being more strategic about that and making sure our strategic plan is better aligned with our partnerships, and making sure we're all working together toward our same educational goals."
St. Paul parent Emily Leabsh said on Monday she was pleased with news of the agreement.
"It's better for everybody," she said. "Teachers don't lose classroom time, vacation, spring break time, pay, and the kids don't lose any of the same things."
Teachers and staff are set to officially look at the contract later this week and vote early next week.
If approved, it would then go to the Board of Education in March.
Updated: February 12, 2018 07:01 PM
Created: February 12, 2018 04:54 PM
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