Day 8 of Minneapolis teacher strike ends; district officials say there’s not enough money for teacher demands

Eight days into the Minneapolis teacher’s strike, there’s little movement in negotiations between Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.

Late Tuesday, district officials held a news conference repeating their position, that there’s not enough money to meet the union’s demand.

“We do not have the finances to expand the cost of our contract proposal,” said Kimberly Caprini, Minneapolis School Board Treasurer, adding, “we have been thinking creatively of ways we can compromise. But we have reached our financial limitation.”

Earlier Tuesday, more than 30,000 students have now been out of class for a week. Tuesday, some of those students are planning to join teachers on the picket line.

“They’re fighting for us, they’re fighting for the community and they’re fighting for public schools,” said student Leila Sundin.

Monday, the union said the district is moving on some of the demands teachers want, such as class size caps.

Until a deal is made, the district says no pay, benefits or compensation will be given to – or accrued by- a striking employee.

Union members are hearing calls to hold the line, and getting some support from a prominent lawmaker.

“As a proud alum of MPS, someone who has had her kids educated from within MPS, I know how important and valued our teachers and educators are 106 and I want to make sure they have everything they need,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has not been made aware of any significant movement in Monday’s contract negotiations.

Union leaders said they were still waiting on a counter offer from the district in response to an offer put on the table Saturday, and added overnight the district refused to negotiate for the second day in a row.

The district has said it has reached its financial limit on what can be offered.

Picketing is once again scheduled from 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. throughout the district, and a briefing will be given by union leaders at 10:30 a.m.

So far, six days of classroom instruction have been lost, and the school district says it is examining school-by-school data regarding instructional time being lost to the strike, and will determine when it is made up.

As of Friday, the district wrote that most seventh and eighth grades, as well as some of the high schools, have no extra days or hours on their calendars, so any time lost due to the strike will have to be made up. However, the district adds elementary grades have 170 instruction days scheduled, which means no time needs to be made up if the strike lasts for five days or less.

State law requires at least 165 instruction days for students in grades 1-11. Time lost due to the strike will be made up either over spring break, extending the school year, reducing professional development days, or other means that meet the state’s requirements.

Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for updates on this developing news.