Minneapolis teacher strike continues Thursday, negotiations ongoing

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Teachers continued picketing Thursday, as the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Minneapolis Public Schools continued negotiations.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, district officials said they were still exchanging contract proposals between the district and the union.

Superintendent Ed Graff said students would have to make up about three days as a result of the strike.

While educators rallied in south Minneapolis, some parents found new options to keep their kids busy while school is out.

The gymnasium inside of North High School in Minneapolis opened its doors for students to get from noon to 3:00 PM to a bite to eat, and enjoy games, and activities.

“We are just hanging out and playing b-ball,” said 15-year-old Diani Reynolds.

Sophomore Taylor Butler told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she worries about her friends who aren’t at the school.

“During distance learning, I lost a lot of friends to gun violence because they were left to their own devices at home because they didn’t have any programs to keep themselves busy,” Butler said.

At least 40 students showed up Thursday, but hundreds of other North High School students were elsewhere.

“We have another 250 kids who aren’t here, and need to be in here and should be here,” said Matt Branch, Community Education Coordinator for North High School.

On Wednesday, March 17, both sides said progress was made in negotiations and talks extended into the evening hours.

Also Wednesday, members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators ratified their new contract.

This comes after they narrowly avoided a strike after reaching a deal. Union leaders say more than 78% of SPFE members who voted authorized a strike.

RELATED: Minneapolis teachers to strike Tuesday; St. Paul educators, district reach a deal

The new deal includes:

  • Class size caps
  • Guaranteed recess time for students
  • Increased mental health support
  • One-time bonus of $3,000 for teachers who tuaght during the pandemic
  • Educational assistants to receive an average wage increase of 13.5%
  • Teahers, school and community service professionals to receive a 2% annual salary increase for the next two years.
  • Weighted caseloads for some special eduation teachers to be piloted with the 2022-2023 school year.

Members of the St. Paul School Board will now look at the contract for approval.