MPS: Last, best offer now made to teachers; union to picket again Wednesday

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Teachers in the Minneapolis Public School (MPS) district will be picketing again Wednesday, which marks day 16 of their strike.

Kids in the district have been out of class for 12 days, and parents are pleading with the district to come to some sort of agreement so everyone can get back to school.

“We cannot afford for education to be any further behind,” said Rev. Runney Patterson, President of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention. “Superintendent, School board, get to the table. And make some meaningful compensation for our teachers union.”

Negotiations are getting closer, but stalled again Tuesday night.

The main difference between the two contracts now surrounds raises and bonus pay. Union members are pushing for a minimum salary of $35,000 for all education support professionals, and a bigger lump sum in bonuses for teachers.

MPS says they’ve now made what they call their last and best offers to both teachers and ESPs, which include higher wages across the board, smaller class sizes and social workers in every school.

RELATED: District puts forth ‘final offer’ for Minneapolis Public schools support staff

According to the district, their latest proposal includes:

  • Class size caps
  • Starting salary of over $50,000 for all teachers, and $3,000 in bonuses
  • A full-time social worker in each school
  • 20% wage increase for coaches
  • $1 million investment in physical education, arts and music staffing at small elementary schools
  • Protections for teachers of color, as well as additional strategies to recruit and keep teachers of color

“The necessary pieces are in place for an agreement, and everyone is working to make it happen. I will be here until it does,” said Kim Ellison, the chair of the MPS Board of Education.

An update provided by the district Tuesday evening said the counterproposal made by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) Tuesday afternoon was “$20 million more costly than their previous proposals, bringing the difference between MPS and MFT proposals now to $167 million.”

The teachers union posted a video late Tuesday night that said they countered the school once more, but school leaders left the negotiating table without a response before 9 p.m.

Union leaders and community members spoke at a briefing Wednesday morning. That briefing can be watched in the video player above.

Check back for updates in this developing story.

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